Joaquin Phoenix: “I’m as sensitive as any idiot”

We were driving to his favorite sushi bar in Los Angeles when Joaquin Phoenix told me how he became vegan. It was October 28, 1977, his third birthday. He and his family were on a cargo ship taking them from Venezuela to Miami. They have just left the sect of the Sons of God. On the boat, Joaquin noticed that the fishermen had finished their catch by nailing the fish into the side of the ship. He suddenly realized that his parents were serving him those poor, writhing, helpless creatures who had been butchered on deck. “It was so violent… I remember my mother’s expression. “Why didn’t you tell us it was fish?” we cried. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She didn’t know what to answer. Two months later, the whole family had stopped eating meat.

When Joaquin Phoenix unwrapped his chopsticks for a seaweed salad, I began to regret ordering raw mackerel. “Dude, do whatever you want! He relaxed, shrugging his shoulders in his black T-shirt and rolled-up pants, his gray hair slipping in the back, not everyone is that sophisticated. He was kidding. Or not.” It’s up to you to decide. Then he burst out laughing crazy: “Everything is off! Enjoy your swastika!”

In Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is ​​Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill, lonely and tormented man who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian and ends up committing incredible violence. On screen, his crazy laugh, his shy smile, and his slow flashes instill in this sinister character an unexpected and heartbreaking dimension. No trace of the original comedy; Instead, guards are frantic, crazy, narcissistic, frenzied. When he accepted the role, Phoenix wondered if he could give him some humanity. “I was scrolling through the script and thought, ‘How about getting the audience to sympathize with him or sympathize with him? “It’s so easy for everyone to look for the easiest answers and hate bad guys. Defining evil makes us feel better. It’s so simple and I wanted to make this character more complicated. The actor has always intuitively understood the dark side of human psychology. In Good day from Lynn RamsayPlay a traumatized veteran who massacres the rapists of wealthy underage girls with hammer blows. at Ha from Spike JonesHe was lonely, depressed, and in love with the computer operating system. In 2010, he stunned everyone by showing himself as a self-destructive actor turned hip-hop into the comic. I’m still here Before returning with a piece of courage as a deranged disciple of a cult in Mr. from Paul Thomas Anderson. “From an early age, I was allergic to things that are a bit trivial and meaningless. I don’t know why. I am sure you want Freud’s interpretation. Perhaps there is one…”

It is tempting to root this darkness in his personal history. Not so long ago, for the public, it was “The Other Phoenix”: his brother River died before his eyes in 1993 on Sunset Boulevard in front of the Snake Room. Now that memory has faded to the point that he, Joaquin, is the most famous Phoenix, but the tragedy was never far away. Because journalists keep reminding him of that. Because his brother and his death affected him deeply, even if he was reluctant to associate it with his talent for embodying bleak, damaged, violent and tormented characters. “I try not to think about it… but why did you agree to this damned interview?” It will ruin my career. He admits to me that he is “as sensitive as any idiot”. When I got to his house, down a steep alley in Hollywood Hill, he was boiling potatoes for his vegan dogs too, Oscar and soda.

To develop the character of Arthur Fleck, Joaquin Phoenix researched narcissism and criminology and studied a game Buster Keaton And that the scarecrow wizard of ozInspired by the creepy pas de deux that expresses Flick’s madness so well. During one scene, the script calls for the character to lock herself in the bathroom after several murders, and search for a cache of her weapon, but Todd Phillips And he thought it sounded wrong, and while they were discussing the scene, director Joaquin Phoenix asked to listen to a new composed soundtrack for the movie. The actor began to dance an elegant tango and the director asked the photographer to photograph him, camera in hand, only the three of us in the room while two hundred and fifty members of the team waited outside. The scene was included in the adorable trailer for the song “Smile.” Jimmy Durant.

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