Tjeck's film editor, Peter Sikker Rasmussen went to Rome to visit the crew behind "Gladiator"

Joaquin Phoenix was away from the movie business for several years after his brother's tragic death. In 1995 he returned and with the latest role as Commodus in Gladiator he has finally got his breakthrough. Being only 25 he has placed himself in the row of talented young stars who marks Hollywood these years !
With open shirt and a suit, that looks good to his dark skin and the black hair, he sits down a bit sprawled in the chair.
With careless elegance all the way !

Do you see it as a healthy way of competition between all of you young stars in Hollywood ?

Joaquin : I see it as a healthy way of competition. It is like James Dean and Marlon Brando. They both watched eachothers movies and got inspired. I feel the same way with forexample Edward Norton and Matt Damon. I watch their movies and get inspired to break limits and in that way push myself further. But when it comes to it, we are all unique and all have something special to offer !

It seems like there is a pattern in your choice of characters as dark,withdrawn and sombre persons ?

Joaquin : Appearently that is what people are left with. But in Gladiator forexample - my role is more complicated than that! Instead of just seeing Commodus on the top of his tyranny, you have to remember that he has a history. He is not born with the Tiger's craving for blood, but the special circumstances in his life has forced his personality in that direction ! The danger would be to play the cliché as consistent evil. The script is more than that. All the movie's characters containe strenght and weakness.

How do you get your parts ?

Joaquin : I read and screentested for the part in " Gladiator" and the same with my other movies. Normally the instructor has only seen one or two of your movies, and they therefore don't have the complete understanding for what you can perform. Maybe they don't even consider your name when they are casting, that is why it is good to get out there and
show them what you can do !

Did you know about the Roman Empire before Gladiator ?

Joaquin : Not really !

Was it a fascinating world to enter ?

Joaquin : For me it is mostly work, I do some research and what I find I add to my role and use it so it fits into the movie. So it is not something I especially enjoy or that satisfies me in a special way !

What do you enjoy when your don't work then ?

Joaquin : Infact I just like to sit and look into the walls. Totally serious. Otherwise I love to listen to music like The Beatles or Marvin Gay, but I am also open to listen to forexample Public Enemy. The most important thing for me, is that these people lay bare as artists. There is a huge credibility in their music. It is about honesty, and that is very rare to find nowadays!

Is there anything you aim at as an actor, where you in reality are playing a role ?

Joaquin : It is harder to do as an actor. But I believe that it because you often underestimate the audience. You make it all more black and white then is necessary. There is no space for the big human complexities in American movies. Even the movies that are not typical popcorn movies are suffering under this. But when it comes to it, the reason is that it is hard for studios to earn money on the more complicated movies. But I do think that we in Gladiator got the chance
to vary the characters. There is a touch of humanity all over.

Big thank you for Marissa for translating it