Come Oscar time, Joaquin Phoenix wants people recognizing his hard work and preparation, not talking about how he took the easy way out by using his personal pain to play Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. Phoenix gets upset about the subject in Newsweek:
Cash was haunted by the loss of his older brother, Jack, who died from a wood-sawing accident at 14; Johnny was 12. It's tempting to see a parallel to Phoenix's life. His older brother, River, died of a drug overdose in 1993, when Joaquin was 19.Last year while Phoenix was filming "Walk the Line," tabloid reports circulated that the actor had had a "breakdown" while shooting a scene related to Cash's brother's death. Phoenix says those reports were "bulls—-t." During a scene in which Cash is going through drug withdrawal, Phoenix banged his head on the bedpost, in an attempt to get into his character's emotional state. He was acting, he says, not flipping out. [...]
I don't need to pull from my experience for a character, and I've never understood why actors would, except for lack of ability, imagination or research. I had all three things, so this is a little frustrating to me, because it denies my work and the research that I did." He pauses. "It bothers me that this happens, because it's slightly exploitative. Suggesting that I would use this personal part of my life for a f—-ing movie ... it kind of makes me sick."
See? He's put in the hard work, he's gonna earn that nomination. But he still has a way to go before he's as obsessively well-prepared as Sean Penn, who killed a childhood friend for research for his Oscar-winning role in Mystic River.
- Coming Attractions [Newsweek.com]