The Daily Mail (UK)
Lesson in Love from Wise Kate
September 15, 2000

Joaquin Phoenix talks with Daily Mail

JOAQUIN PHOENIX has spoken of passionate clinches with Kate Winslet on screen. Phoenix, who was the schizophrenic emperor Com-modus in Gladiator, appears with Kate in the movie Quills.

The film explores how the Marquis de Sade overcame hardship to express his artistic desires.

Phoenix, who plays a priest, said: 'I learned a lot from Kate because, while I want to examine every which way of a line or a scene, she's natural and relaxed.

'Acting out a love scene is never easy, but Kate guided me through it. I think she was nervous, but didn't show it. I was scared, but she led me like a little lamb, even though the scene wasn't meant to be gentle. She's a great actress.'

Kate plays a chambermaid who helps the imprisoned Marquis, played by Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, to continue writing. Michael Caine, who won an Academy Award for The Cider House Rules, is the brutal doctor who runs the asylum where de Sade is held.

Phoenix added: 'It was like having a master-class. There's Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, and you just observe everything they do. Kate's a wise woman with exceptional taste.'

This week, the actress was resting as she and director husband Jim Threapleton await the birth of their first child.

She told me that Quills is not preoccupied with sex. 'All the Marquis wants is to write what he feels and use any means to do it. It's not about getting hot and steamy,' she said on the set of her most recent film, Enigma.

Quills will be screened at the London Film Festival in November and goes on release in early January. Phoenix can also be seen in The Yards, which is premiered at the festival on November 7.