“I’m a good mood”
TIME MAGAZINE NO. 6/2015 February 10, 2015
Joaquin Phoenix has called the Oscars as “bullshit” and often plays wayward characters. Sometimes he would like to do something completely different. An interview by Katja Nicodemus
Time Magazine: Mr. Phoenix, you are considered capricious interlocutor.
Joaquin Phoenix: Everyone has their whims. Even journalists.
Time Magazine: There is a theory that your mood is highly dependent on the role you have played recently.
Phoenix: I am the best of moods.
Time Magazine: In Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Inherent Vice by playing a private investigator and duration stoner hippie-time in Los Angeles.
Phoenix: Exactly! Best mood!
Time Magazine: Are you even a hippie child?
Phoenix: What do you mean?
Time Magazine: A child who has grown up in a kind of counter-culture. Her parents were missionaries of a Christian community that tried alternative forms of life.
Phoenix: We toured South America, were very clear educated, were always on the move. But I have made other experiences in my childhood. My mother worked on our return at the TV station NBC. She was a secretary there, when I was seven years old. My siblings and I were on TV very early as a child actor on, and took place in a fucking media group. Nevertheless, we were taught as children alternative ideals. For example, the banal, but not to be underestimated conviction that the world does not have to remain as it is. And no matter how poor and desperate, sometimes we were – we never would have occurred in commercials for McDonald’s. What may be called my “hippie roots,” helps me today in my decisions as an adult actor.
Time Magazine: About your character in Inherent Vice is a silent grief.
Phoenix: Mourning already determined the book by Thomas Pynchon. The novel begins with a quote, a graffito from the Paris riots of ’68 “. Under the cobblestones of the beach” Pynchon looks melancholy at an era, and describes how the people, the world, life will be plastered. As it happened late seventies in Los Angeles. The housing boom began to choke the city. Under the concrete has a unique slant, funny diversity of American life forms disappeared.
Time Magazine: What is The Golden Fang, this ominous association of Inherent Vice?
Phoenix: they all have blood on their hands, because ultimately all work for The Golden Fang. It is a timeless cipher for corruption. I can not just sit back as an actor. I can not feel on the right side of me just because I shoot movies. I work for films that are produced and presented by corporations. The sadness in Inherent Vice is also due to the feeling that there is no escape, that you figuratively always blood on their hands.
Time Magazine: Are the seventies in the US a decade of lost illusions?
Phoenix: In the sixties there was in the US real idealism. End of the sixties were shot Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There were murders laden with high hopes political figures. At the same time kept hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin intake in the alternative culture. And suddenly you squeals of the type that was your “Brother”. Because he was caught with a gram of marijuana and is facing twenty years in prison. In large and small utopias ended in death, gloom and disaster. And then came Ronald Reagan eighties: unbridled greed. Look where you stay. Fuck everybody else.
Time Magazine: What is left of the utopias of the sixties and seventies in the US?
Phoenix: There are schools with alternative education models, alternative treatment methods, another approach to the environment. This does not come out of nowhere, that’s sprung from the minds of those times. It is so easy to make fun of it and dismiss it as a hippie stuff. Also in terms of love.
Time Magazine: The free love?
Phoenix: No, love. In the seventies, it was also about a different kind of relationship. About the fact that you did not want, such as the generation of parents sleep in separate beds and come together now and again to reproduce. That no marriage for the sake of leads, while there is hatred in reality and despised. These ideas degenerate in the eighties, and “I love you” only meant “I want to fuck you.”
Time Magazine: For Her parents, who were missionaries, it was in their quest of self-discovery and also to God. Have you believed as a child?
Phoenix: I like the word God, not because it is abused by the religions. But I like the idea of a consciousness in the universe. Without that I would have an idea what that could be. I can easily imagine that I am part of a fucking video game, with the amuse themselves aliens.
Time Magazine: The idea would “Doc” Sportello, your stoner detective in Inherent Vice please.
Phoenix: He smokes pot entirely too much. He gets high, the brains out.
Time Magazine: In Anderson’s previous film, The Master They played a flitting people. Also, since it was about the search for other life forms in a cult of the fifties.
Phoenix: The Master shows how America reassembles itself after the Second World War. The soldiers came back and did not know what to do with themselves, they had no home had lost itself. Maybe they have always lost. That was long before a syndrome such as post-traumatic disorder also had only one name. The Master also looks to the past and tells something about the American presence. Who’s because today in the Army? The poor, the uneducated, the binding of lots which disturbed. Those who have no choice and are looking for a community.
Time Magazine: For the role of war in The Master Heimkehrers source you have looked at pictures of caged animals.
Phoenix: And I remembered the dog of my childhood. If he was involved in a fight, a lever was folded in him, something brought forth these animalistic aggression. This is so even in people: the body shuts down all functions that he does not need. Your mouth dries out, because the body hoarding water. A small portion of our brain takes command. On animals can the study. And Freddie source in The Masters has something animal, he has something of a primate.
Time Magazine: In a scene in a prison cell you freak out, apparently was not discussed with the production that you smash a historic Porzellanklosett …
Phoenix: We had rehearsed this scene only loosely. It was determined the direction from which we came from and how they put me in the cell. When turning, I was not thinking. I only knew that a wild animal that is trapped in a cage, easy runs against the bars. It does not realize that it is locked. It hurt, pushes against everything.
Time Magazine: It must be exhausting to be absorbed so much when turning in the figure.
Phoenix: It is.
Time Magazine: Johnny Cash was an alcoholic. Once you have played him in Walk the Line, you went to the alcohol withdrawal in a clinic.
Phoenix: There is a danger in making several films a year to work without interruption. It is thought that the film was the world. If you do breaks, sometimes going to the movies, then one sees things more suitable.
Time Magazine: Is there really a director with whom you really want to turn to?
Phoenix: Working Again with someone like Paul Thomas Anderson would hand me already.
Time Magazine: Another dream project?
Phoenix: Maybe stop playing. Something else to do. But what?
Time Magazine: In your common fake documentary I’m Still Here Your brother Casey Affleck accompanied her alleged withdrawal as an actor to be hip-hop.
Phoenix: We did not know what nerve of the film would take. Actually, we were concerned with a joke: I say I want to retire from acting, and no one gives a shit. Why should they? It was the time when the Internet just took off. The World Wide Web had to be filled with entertainment news. Had we made the film ten years earlier, he had never hit such waves. But the thing exploded through the network.
Time Magazine: You were supposed as hip-hop in the David Letterman show on, taciturn, bad mood. Were you nervous?
Phoenix: Yes. A lot. In the movie it is so that I go to the rapper Puff Daddy and ask him if he wants to produce a record with me. He says no, and then I step on Letterman on, confused, because I might want to go back again to acting. But at the time of the Letterman show, we had not yet been to Puff Daddy. We only knew that I was in any producer who told me that my music is useless shit. Therefore, I was not sure how I should play the concert, Casey said only: You must be devastated. And I had a hell afraid of this fake appearance.
Time Magazine: Are appearances are not always found on Letterman, even if they are real?
Phoenix: Of course, everything is denied, the jokes, the topics of the course of the conversation.
Time Magazine: The entertainment business has rather bad mood reacts to I’m Still Here.
Phoenix: We did not want to make fun of Hollywood or the media. This has already been done, even the media. Because it sometime all availed to keep the lie alive. No one wanted to ruin the hype, no one wanted to say that hip-hop history is just a joke. There were so many open and hidden clues that the story could not be genuine. But the entertainment media are not trying to figure out if something is true. To print and publish only what appears to them slippery.
Time Magazine: Recently, you have again made popular when you referred to the Oscars as bullshit.
Phoenix: The Oscar nominations have changed my career. Otherwise I would not be able to make the films that I’ve made. Is there anyway disadvantages, the whole story is totally corrupted? Of Course! But I have my remark a little regret. It is as if the ugly boy one day to the party of the cool kids will be invited. And because he knows that he is not invited anyway, he says: Total stupid party. But when I said that the Oscars are bullshit, I have included. So I should have said: “There are many great movies here but also a bunch of shit Just as in life…”