Joaquin Phoenix's Director Recalls His Screamy, Charcoal-Eating Commitment

If you had any doubts that Joaquin Phoenix will push his hoaxy rapper persona into the depths of career ignominy, let his Two Lovers director fill you in on his insane level of commitment.

James Gray has collaborated with Phoenix on three films, and his latest, Two Lovers, is purported to be Phoenix's last EXCEPT FOR THIS HOAX MOVIE HE IS FILMING WITH CASEY AFFLECK IN WHICH HE IS CLEARLY ACTING AND WE'RE ALL CLEAR ON THAT, RIGHT? In a Huffington Post essay published today, Gray charitably describes the actor as "mercurial" (of their first film together, he notes, "I seem to remember a whole lot of torment and angst and yelling and screaming"), then recounts Phoenix's gonzo performing on the set of We Own the Night:

We worked night and day, rehearsing and discussing. Sometimes it would lead to horrible arguments — often my fault! I'm no diplomat — but in my (weak) defense, there were times I couldn't distinguish with whom I was speaking. Was it character or actor? This time, he went in, and he went in deep. Okay, you want me to see my father dead, in the street? Well then, I might vomit for real (he did); you want me to be terrified of that man? Go 'head, have him belt me, right in the face (he got walloped, but good); you want me to swallow that charcoal? Force it down my throat, man (he inhaled, with relish).

Now, Phoenix has kindly returned the favor, asking America to open its mouth while he shoves a hard, unwanted vanity project down our gullets. Expect a middling aftertaste, for it is half-baked.