Cicero Interview with Joaquin Phoenix

04/04/2015 | By

Thank you Kaja for this link, had to translate in Google so not the best translation unfortunately.

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“I feel the decline”
The abyss closer than planned: Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from the movie “I’m Still Here – The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix”
Joaquin Phoenix is ​​one of the best and most versatile actors in Hollywood. In this interview he talks about drugs, fear of failure, and his childhood in a cult family

An interview with Joaquin Phoenix to lead a roulette game is the same. The reasons for choosing questions, strikes a certain tone, and sets everything on one color. Whether this succeeds a conversation depends solely on luck, or, in this case, on the daily form of the actor. Phoenix, who is now 40 years old, is considered extremely moody interlocutor who like once is abusive in interviews or spontaneously leaves the room. On that spring evening in a Paris hotel room Californians makes an open, almost boisterous impression. He wears heavy boots, jeans and a white T-shirt. As Phoenix sits astride a leather couch, the pitch-black hair combed to Tolle, reminds the rebel-like pose in front of his hitherto perhaps the most important film role – as a young Johnny Cash.

Mr Phoenix, directors and fellow actors who regularly work with you, you called autistic. Can you start with this description something?
I would not disagree. But this description is especially true for me as a private individual.

Why this distinction?
As an actor on the set of my quirks fall actually less common. As I move in a relatively fixed corset and can feel somewhat normal. But if I do not work and am at home, it is often as I could put on blinders and no longer perceive me left and right. Anyway, say friends of mine. Most say that I was not socially acceptable.

What does that mean?
Conversations give me an uncomfortable feeling.

Even at this moment?
No, just do it. But with the feeling is just one thing. I often do not get certain statements or expressions of feeling with others.

An incredible disadvantage for an actor.
Maybe. But I find it easier to dive into my world and in my role. This could be an advantage.

So you’re not good conversationalist at parties?
Oh God, no. I’m the type to make all a wide berth because they realize very quickly that I feel uncomfortable and like a shy boy staring at my phone. I’m afraid you can see me at such moments that I am a handshake would have been preparing for physical pain.

Do you have any idea where that comes from?
My siblings are very different when I fall, much more accessible. My mother claims that I had as a child obvious problems to reach out to other people, even if I knew them well. Maybe It’s impossible to not explain, at least by a faulty upbringing or so. My parents are certainly not to blame.

You were born in Puerto Rico. Her parents were typical hippies who went with you and your two siblings in a caravan from village to village. Do you have memories of this kind of life?
I was just four years old, the memories are so pretty vague. I remember that was ever sung. And I know that we were with our parents never alone. In the municipality in which moved our family, a lot of people were always around us. It was as if someone had the same five or six parents at a time.

Did that confused?
I did not know it differently, so it was okay. What has influenced me more was the fact that there were often armed. This hippie life is always transfigured by the motto: All love, all are there for each other. This is total nonsense. The truth was that all just wanted to be loved by all and needed the attention of others. Years later, as a teenager, I once letters have fallen into the hands that had the hippie friends of my parents wrote at the time. As I read it, I understood pretty quickly that it has gone all especially to himself.

Her parents were members of the Children of God, a religious sect which was known to recruit new members through sexual acts.
The movement had its origins in California, where it all began. At the time I was born, my parents were part of a kind of colony in Central America, traveled as missionaries across the country. You were quite deluded. My father was at times even the title of “Archbishop of Venezuela and the Caribbean”. I know that she has fascinated the feeling of a big municipalities like family. It took almost two years to have recognized the hierarchical and fascist was organized this whole movement.

The sect also existed perpetual rumors about prostitution and child abuse until the late nineties and with her.
The number of underage members exceeded the number of adults at some point, so there were these rumors. But it was not until much later, perhaps in the late eighties. My older siblings and their friends have certainly never aware of it.

Drugs played a role in your childhood?
Drugs were always there, they were never hidden, but I’ve only come as a teenager in contact with it. I have made some experiences, like most flat.

Her older brother River Phoenix was considered perhaps the most talented actors of a generation. He was 23 when he died of a drug overdose.
It had nothing to do with our origin or our environment. Even more with Hollywood and the height of fall, you get automatically when one is too fast to succeed in this business. More I do not want to say on this subject.

In some US states is currently being debated on the legalization of cannabis. Do you have an opinion?
There are thousands of positions and most are based on any scientific evidence, all claiming to be something else. I’m strongly believe that the brain suffers when you smoke marijuana for years. On the other hand, I am also of the opinion that it helps anyone, and if you imprison him for the use of cannabis.

Are you a political person?
I go vote, but much further my commitment is not unfortunately. I wish it were otherwise. Frequently I am ashamed, because I’m finding out far too little in this direction.

Do you lack the time?
Everyone has the time to listen to the news. That would be a cop-out. I’m afraid I lack the drive.

After all, you are involved as animal rights activists.
Engage is a bit exaggerated, but I help where I can, and have been outed as a vegan, as most people in Hollywood that word probably do not even know. At that time most people actually thought to be a vegan, would be to follow any spiritual worship and to organize crazy rituals before each meal. People simply had no idea and if you have no idea quickly makes you look a the worst things in order to not have to deal with the unknown must.

What your awareness was sharpened in this regard?
Vegetarian I am already become when I was four or five years old.

Then your parents have you taken the decision.
No, my parents have always eaten meat. My siblings and I were emancipated, so to speak very early and made this decision alone.

You were almost a toddler.
True, but there was a key experience. We made a day with the family a trip to the seaside, sat on a boat in front of Puerto Rico and watched the fishermen in your work. We saw how they suddenly took fish in his hand: and they smote successively against the ship’s side or the top floor until they no longer floundered. This image has memorized. For me and my brothers and sisters, it was pure horror and we asked our parents why people do such a thing. They could never give a satisfactory answer I would have understood. From that day on I ate no more animals.

Is it true that your own movies look at a single time when they are finished?
“Inherent Vice”, my last movie I’ve seen. Paul Thomas Anderson, the director has forced me to do so. The four films before that I still do not quite seen.

Why not?
It is probably afraid of everything.

The fear of finding that you might not have been perfect in front of the camera?
Unfortunately, this statement is almost inevitable. The distance from the rotational always changed the perspective on their work, which happens naturally. Much of what has thus still felt absolutely right for me in front of the camera, then gives all of a sudden no longer makes sense. I hate that, and I know that sometimes I can spend months or years trying to contend for such scenes. That’s why I prefer the nice feeling that I have when turning to preserve, as I look at the finished material later me only in the rarest of cases. There are not always just the way individual scenes, which I fear. Often I also fear the whole film could be a disappointment.

A US magazine recently wrote, they possessed when choosing your roles a very passable “bullshit detector”. In your career as an actor, there are actually few bad movies.
I already noticed a more than enough.

What you really regret?
I would not say better. Maybe only this much: The strips offer a the biggest stage, perhaps not always the best.

In Ridley Scott’s epic film Gladiator, they played the Roman emperor Commodus. It was a supporting role, but it was the role that helped you the final breakthrough. If you do not accept such a role today?
Although “Gladiator” was shallow mainstream cinema, but also a stylist of film. I do not regret it. Nevertheless, I would like to play a role in this today in no case more because they would be far too one-dimensional and boring.

What are you today when you choose your roles?
When I read through me a script, I was looking only for two things: the first is the name of the director and the second is my personal Part Everything else interested me much.. That matches both, occurs not very often, but when I did I’m in the boat.

They were already several times nominated for an Oscar, but flirt for years so that you just do not want to win this. In recent awards are frequently saw you shaking your head as if you wanted to express how you counter was this circus.
I have nothing against prices and no objection to the Oscars, on the contrary, I’m so Awards owe my career. Still, that’s all, just as you say, a huge circus is in this circus unfortunately also a danger. If you take these prices too important, one will be as an actor always rely on this kind of confirmation – and I will not. I am convinced that every actor who is already thinking of his Oscar speech before the camera will fail.

Because this changes your game and perhaps inevitably inhibits. So it would definitely be with me, but I have my work anyway never been to win prizes. I just want to be always as good as possible.

Do you sometimes fear of failure?
All the time. This is already happening as soon as I have the promise of a role.

What happens then?
I often give myself. Sometimes when things go really bad, which still happens even on the set. Luckily I work mostly with the same people, so it shocked anyone.

You would have to after all these years actually be a mellow type. Can you explain your nervousness or tension?
I think it is because I have high expectations and want to disappoint anyone. Least myself and the people who occupy me for her film.

The director Paul Thomas Anderson recently said that he had never seen a performer textsichereren than you have.
Maybe, that’s true. Maybe it has to do with my autistic page. The funny thing is, every word, every syllable that I know on the set and a few days later, almost all forget again. This is how every time earlier in a test in school. I learn the material in order to retrieve it at any given point in time. Then everything is completely gone. I admire who can lecture in interviews about her films about the context of the script or novels because they are about to read to prepare in every detail. I try too, but I can not keep it.

Is your work as an actor for more agony than passion?
There is passion, but the true passion always heard just too spoiled. I can not say that I think all good at my job. Much is damn hard work and there are many things that I really hate. This includes the fear of failure, but without which I would not be who I am.

You are now 40. Busy getting older?
Not like most people. I’m not afraid to be one day old and gray. I have to eventually lose only afraid of the youth in me.

You mean a youthful attitude to life?
Exactly. I wonder when it will be lost. And why? If the date in the DNA of every human being? How can we fight it? As a teenager, I’ve always seen movies from the seventies, with actors who were coming so wild and reckless that I admired. At some point it occurred to me that these actors only roles were, where they had it easy because they were allowed to wear nice suits front of the camera and turn to beautiful film set in sunny countries. For most actors happened that when they were about 40. I found this sucks and I vowed never to be so.

If you succeed?
To be honest: I also feel the decay. I recently flew a script that I was offered the film played in Alaska. Suddenly I found myself at the thought of having no interest in the matter, only because I knew that it would be terribly cold there. That scared me and incredibly embarrassed.

Five years ago, you have publicly celebrate your downfall. They shaved no longer let themselves be filmed with prostitutes on drugs and announced that they would want to be a rapper. It was all part of the bogus documentary “I’m still here”, in which you staged your own decay as Hollywood star. How close are you really come to the abyss?
From today’s perspective, one must say that I am really crashed – and totally. The original idea of ​​the film was that Casey Affleck, the director, accompanied me on this journey. I started drinking, taking drugs not to wash. If my agent rang, I’m not answered the phone. Colleagues I have reingehauen at parties a. There is no script for something, but it was all part of our plan. We wanted to explore less, which is made of fallen angels in Hollywood, but rather how Hollywood reacts to his fallen angels.

And you are at the end actually like?
I have relatively quickly realized that it was more difficult for me to distinguish between my role and reality. At first it was great fun, but it was perhaps only a matter of time before this experiment had to get out of control. Finally I got the abyss closer than I had ever planned.

They have at the time by a nearly two-year break and have almost completely disappeared from the public. Many have not expected that you would ever return as an actor.
I think that I did not own. Nevertheless, I am grateful for this experience mitlerweile.

Is there any knowledge you have gained from this?
Yes, the main finding of all: I just realized that I still can fall so deep and get up again and again.

The interview was conducted Claas Relotius.