Joaquin Phoenix gave a lengthy interview to Vanity Fair magazine, where he talked about current events, focusing on the controversies of his new movie, Joker, and his relationship with Robert De Niro and the past, which had the tragedy of his brother's death, also actor River Phoenix, and an unusual childhood. In addition, he revealed that despite the vegan lifestyle, he still fights smoking, having failed to quit smoking under hypnosis.
The movie Joker, starring the 44-year-old actor, opens Thursday in Brazil, surrounded by controversy. The charge is that it promotes violence. "I didn't imagine it would be a movie that would have quiet reactions. It's a tough movie. In a way, it's good that people have strong reactions to it."
For Phoenix, it's best to let the movie speak for itself. "You can either say that there is someone who needs to have their voice heard and be understood. Or you can say that it is someone who disproportionately needs a lot of people to pay attention to him. His satisfaction comes from where he is in the midst of his madness." , defined Phoenix.
In addition to losing 20kg to live the character Arthur Fleck the Joker, Phoenix researched narcissism and criminology and was inspired by Buster Keaton, Ray Bolger and the Wizard of Oz scarecrow.
A curiosity is that a scene was made in improvisation. Fleck had to appear in the bathroom after a few murders, looking for a place to hide his weapon. Director Todd Phillips and actor didn't like what was going on, and as they debated, Phillips put on a still unreleased soundtrack song. Phoenix began to dance, and with only one camera in the room – and a crew of 250 people waiting for them – they shot one of the scenes that ended up in the feature trailer.
Phoenix and De Niro
Another highlight of the film is Robert De Niro, who played an important role behind the scenes. "He's my favorite American actor. I get the impression he does things on the scene, with certain behaviors and gestures, that happen even if the camera is not recording."
However, they interacted little on set. Phoenix says it is the fault of the sharing methods and the superstitions themselves. "I didn't like talking to him on the set. He said good morning, and then we didn't talk much. Our characters didn't need to talk much. We just said, 'Let's work and relate to each other like the characters.' . "
Joker Ultimate Trailer with Joaquin Phoenix
But there were swoops too. At De Niro's request, there was a reading of the script with everyone present. Phoenix doesn't like the process. At one point, Phoenix left the smoking room, De Niro accompanied him, and the protagonist eventually left the meeting: "I can't, I need to go home."
Phillips managed to bring the actor back, everyone hit the edges and "From Niro turned to Phoenix, took his face with his hands and kissed his cheek, saying: 'Everything will be OK'," said the director, about the De Niro's gesture promoting peace
Phoenix tells stories of childhood when his family members were from the Children of God cult, who later – after the family had left the sect – would be known for dark and perverse practices, with sexual recruitment and introduction to adolescent sex. The family, still under the surname Bottom, left the service and became Phoenix, with Joaquin's mother pregnant with her fifth child.
In another childhood scene, he recalls a day when he saw fishermen torturing fish. Shortly thereafter, the family went vegan. "That was so violent, so intense. I vividly remember my mother's face. I shouted at her, 'How did you not tell us that this is where the fish we ate came from?'"
In 1979, the Phoenix moved to Hollywood and became a troupe of child performers, performing and dancing, including on TV shows. The eldest son, River Phoenix, became the big star, but died in 1993 after a drug overdose.
Joaquin says he has always had an interest in the dark and the human mind, as his own acting career has been showing, in movies like I'm Still Here and You Never Really Been Here. River's death played a major role in this – Joaquin was present and called the emergency phone.
"I try not to think about this p … Why are you asking me this question? You're ruining my performance," jokes Phoenix. He still belies a famous River interview, in which he said he lost his virginity at age 4. "Do you believe that? It was a total joke. He was f … with the press because he was tired of ridiculous questions."
The issue had to do with parent worship. Joaquin says they were never negligent and left the sect as soon as they were instructed to use flirting and sex to attract followers. "They were idealists and believed they were in a group with people who had their values. They must be looking for security and a family."
At River's death, the family withdrew. "We just left everything behind. It was horrible," he admits. The Phoenix moved to Costa Rica and the actor only auditioned again for A Dream Without Limit (1995), which put him back in the movie business. Seeing director Gus Van Sant, he collapsed: "I started to cry. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I was very sad." He seized the chance and grew up, mainly living Johnny Cash in Johnny & June and other prominent roles.
For Joaquin, his style and taste for complicated roles such as Joker and Cash came from before he was born. "I think it's a combination of nature and care. It's something that comes from my education."
He ends the conversation saying he likes how it is today. If previously he had vacuums, uncertainties, and neuroses because of his roles – living Cash led him to a real-life rehab – today things are lighter. "I've always had a hard time. I think only recently, as I got older, I saw that everything was fine. I know I have meaning in other areas of my life. And that's what sustains me. I like it. I love my life. p … of my life ", concludes the actor, already quoted as a strong contender for the Oscars.