“Clay Pigeons“ on Premiere
Joaquin Phoenix “I
would do everything for a part. There are no taboos.”
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
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
PW: Is there
something you wouldn’t do for a part?
JP: No. No limits. No
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
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
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
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
Sabine II was kind enough to transcribe that for us!
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