Joaquin Phoenix on why having an acting process doesn't work
Three-time Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t have an acting process—or at least not one he’s able to articulate or wants to share. On "Salon Talks," he unpacked his roles in a string of anticipated 2018 films: a traumatized veteran in Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here,” a paraplegic in Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” and Jesus Christ in Garth Davis' "Mary Magdalene." Getting into character is “a process that I don’t really understand,” Phoenix admitted on "Salon Talks."
"I rarely even remember why I chose to do something," Phoenix said. "I try not to make rules about the character." Even if he does prepare ahead of time, imagining what a movie set will be like and then actually experiencing the set on the day of the shoots often makes what he had in mind for the character, impossible. "If I ever go onto set and try to use one of those ideas that I've consciously had, it's always really bad. Without fail," Phoenix said. He says he focuses now on possibilities for the character and allowing actual decisions to happen "in the experience."
Watch the full interview to hear more about how Phoenix brought the character of Joe to life in "You Were Never Really Here" and how he conceptualizes the violence in the film.
About “Salon Talks”
Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.
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