Joaquin Phoenix Reveals His Secret Acting Techniques

Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix attends "The Burnt Orange Heresy" photocall during the 76th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 07, 2019 in Venice, Italy. - Image (Editorial credit: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com)

Joaquin Phoenix shares his approach to filmmaking, acting, and the film industry.

Joaquin Phoenix is an American actor who has received several accolades including an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards.

As a kid, Phoenix started acting alongside his brother River and sister Summer. His first major movie role came in the movie SpaceCamp in 1986. During that team, he was credited as Leaf Phoenix, the name he decided to give himself. He later went back to his original name.

He received acclaim for his work in the movie To Die For (1995) and the movie Quills (2000). But, it would be his supporting role as Commodus in the historical drama Gladiator, which would be his breakout role. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Then, he would later earn Best Actor nominations for his portrayal of musician Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, and an alcoholic war veteran in The Master. His performance as the title character in Joker would finally win him an Academy Award.  His other movies include Sings, The Village, Hotel Rwanda, Her, Inherent Vice, You Were Never Really Here.

In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Academy Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix spoke about his acting process and why he does not like rehearsing with his co-stars.

Phoenix told Anderson Cooper that he did not rehearse scenes during the production of Joker, “It just– it feels impossible to me… I don’t know, it’s– it just feels so fake.”

Adding, Phoenix says he would hate to miss out on using a great take because it was done in rehearsal and not when cameras were rolling. He explains, “I mean, the great thing about shooting a movie is shooting multiple takes, and you use editing and so you grab those best moments. So I’d rather discover those moments while we’re working, than in the rehearsal process, and then feel like, ‘Oh, that was really good what we did. How do we recreate that?’”

The New York Times now has Phoenix on the list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st century. Phoenix is set to star in Miles Mills’ new movie C’mon C’mon, which was shot in the fall of 2019 and early 2020.

Acting Techniques

Joaquin Phoenix may have one of the most unconventional acting techniques in Hollywood, Known to be extremely picky when it comes to picking movie roles, Phoenix is not a celebrity who often speaks publicly or posts thousands of photos on Instagram. That said, Phoenix did an interview with The Guardian about his role in You Were Never Really Here, in which he plays a veteran with PTSD who rescues a girl involved in sex trafficking. He also talks about how he portrays his characters and why he connected with the film industry so quickly at an early age.

Phoenix reveals his approach to acting.  He explains, “Just be in the moment. Don’t overthink it, let it be what it is. If you keep trying to find what’s unique at the moment, then the danger is that you miss that very thing.” In fact, Phoenix later reveals what he thinks is one of the advantages of acting on screen: “The great thing about film is that you get to make mistakes.”

Phoenix added that the director of You Were Never Really Here sent him an audiotape of fireworks.  He says, “Lynne sent me an audio file of Fourth of July fireworks. She said: ‘That’s what’s happening inside Joe’s head.’ That’s one thing that really clicked for me.”

Phoenix even discusses playing Jesus. Phoenix explains, “Lots of material. Lots of conflicting material. But, in the end, it’s a character. And, as with all characters, whether it’s Johnny Cash or whoever, you have to make it about a man; about his personal experience. And for Jesus, what makes his death such a sacrifice is that he didn’t want to die. This was a man who wanted to continue the experience of living, just as we all do. So it was important to me to find those human qualities.”

Phoenix looks about at the first time he appeared on camera as a real game-changer. He recalls feeling “Instantaneous joy. The most enjoyable thing. For some kids, it’s the first time they crack a ball or score a goal. For me, it was this. I was eight years old, and I remember the first scene on the TV set so vividly. And I knew that I loved it – the physical sensation; how powerful it was. That’s the feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.”

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