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More than 30 years later, he says, his enthusiasm for acting hasn't waned."For me, joy is really experiencing something and really doing something, so there are many days that aren't enjoyable; you wouldn't say, like, 'Oh I'd wanna sit and feel that for six hours,' but, ultimately, it's an amazing experience to have had that."Three Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe for his performance in Walk the Line stand testament to Phoenix's talent, but the 39-year-old's modesty and humour seem at odds with the image of the tortured actor.I never really knew, because I never really read stuff, y'know?So it was really interesting to read while it was happening, and then take on information and see how we could apply it to the film."Remaining in character as "Joaquin Phoenix", then, is the closest he has ever got to taking himself too seriously.Be it in the form of the latex woman suits men wore in Channel 4's recent documentary Secrets of the Living Dolls, or the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson in a computer operating system, or just good, old-fashioned internet pornography, technology threatens to render real, living women irrelevant to male sexual desire and emotional satisfaction.There may be reasons to fear a crisis in masculinity – or femininity – or the entire future of human relationships, but Phoenix, as usual, has decided to just go with the flow.This Joaquin Phoenix, the one sitting opposite me in a Soho hotel room, is different again.He wears his shoulder-length hair with a clean-shaven face, and his smart trousers with Converse classics – both textbook sartorial tells of a usually scruffy young man smartened up for photo day.
Her is Spike Jonze's first film as both writer and director, but like the films he made with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, Being John Malkovich (1999) and Adaptation (2002), it is built around an idea which explores the essence of what it means to be human; it's about a man who falls in love with his computer operating system (think i Phone's "Siri", several thousand updates from now), represented by the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson.He laughs at the suggestion that he might have a method for getting into roles, "No, I don't, I really wish I did!" and insists he often questions his own choices: "You're three weeks in and you have doubts about decisions that you've made."Whether this perception of Phoenix originated in his looks, his choice of roles, or the shadow cast by the tragic 1993 death of his brother, River Phoenix, it was undoubtedly reinforced by I'm Still Here, a 2010 mockumentary directed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck. But even after revealing that that documentary was in fact mockumentary, the perception lingered that Phoenix was a bit too intense.Twee by name and twee by nature, Twombly lives in a future Los Angeles where everyone dresses in soft fabrics and gender-neutral designs and it's possible to earn a living, as he does, by composing heartfelt, personal letters on behalf of complete strangers.
The New Yorker's critic Richard Brody described the film as a "feature-length kitten video"."He seems like a pretty nice guy to know," is the verdict on Theodore from Joaquin Phoenix.
"I'm not a Method actor, I don't even know what Method acting is, but I think that you try, or at least I try, to stay in the world of the characters as much as possible.