Thriller/Comedy “Clay Pigeons“ on Premiere

Joaquin Phoenix “I would do everything for a part. There are no taboos.”

  Last year’s “Gladiator” was Joaquin Phoenix’ breakthrough performance. For a change, the movie maniac, who mostly plays shady characters, can also be seen in a comedy.

  Premiere World: What was it that attracted you to acting?

Joaquin Phoenix: Acting means to disguise oneself and to manipulate other people and that is what I learnt to do at an early age. Everybody who – like me – grows up with three sisters will automatically learn to do so. And when I grew older, I just kept it up.

PW: You never attended any classic acting classes?

JP: No. We children learnt from our parents, from friends, from books and from all sorts of sources. I had an unorthodox childhood without realizing it. No regulations, no dogmas, neither of the religious, nor of the political, nor of the philosophic kind. Thus, I was always surprised to see how other children adhered to an inflexible value system.

PW: It sounds as if you had had a sunny childhood. Still, you mostly play dark characters.

JP: Because these parts are the most interesting. I can do differently, though. In my latest movie “Quills” (due for release in Germany on March 8) I play a priest. That’s something different, don’t you think?

PW: How do you prepare for a part?

JP: I prefer to familiarize myself with a character rather than to prepare for it. I don’t think it helps a lot to analyse a part intensively. Neither do people analyse all the time in real life, they would lose all their credibility and spontaneity.

PW: Is there something you wouldn’t do for a part?

JP: No. No limits. No taboos.

PW: This means you are an actor to the core.

JP: You know, a good performance requires true dedication. My profession is murderous: At each corner in Hollywood there are potential competitors, who would also like to play my part. After finishing a movie, you never know whether you will ever stand in front of a camera again.

PW: Do you still have time to do anything apart from acting?

JP: Not enough. I like to travel, I also enjoy hanging out with my family. And all the time I listen to music over my headphones.

PW: Do you play an instrument?

JP: Not really. I’ve got a piano and drum-machines. And I really like to compose, only for myself, for my own pleasure. But when I’ve got a part to play, the part is paramount.

PW: There is hardly any time left for romance?

JP: Oh, that’s no problem. I’m my own lover. That’s the advantage of having a split personality. (laughs)

PW: Does this mean, you enjoy watching yourself on the screen?

JP: No, I’m not interested in that. What I like is the process of making a movie. The sometimes almost painful effort to settle in a character. That’s the greatest thing for me.

Sabine II was kind enough to transcribe that for us!

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