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Joaquin Phoenix says starring in ‘Joker’ “wasn’t an easy decision,” credits his late brother River for his career

© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved/Nikos Tavernise
© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved/Nikos Tavernise

(TORONTO) — (NOTE LANGUAGE) Joaquin Phoenix was emotional Monday night at the Toronto International Film Festival: He not only attended a Q&A panel for his acclaimed new movie Joker, but separately was presented with the TIFF Tribute Actor Award.

About the former, Variety reports that Phoenix said taking the role “wasn’t an easy decision at first.” Director and co-writer Todd Phillips agreed, joking, “I always said he never really signed on to the movie. He just showed up for a wardrobe fitting.”

Eventually, the enigmatic actor relented. “I didn’t f**king know….But then there was something that was drawing me toward it. It just evolved…It started becoming something more than I anticipated.”  He described the movie as “one of the greatest experiences of my career.”

It also has reportedly put Phoenix on the short list for another Oscar nomination, many have expressed.

As Phoenix was accepting his award from TIFF, he credited his late brother River Phoenix with reinvigorating his interest in acting. An acclaimed actor in his own right, River died of a drug overdose in 1993, when he was 23.

“When I was 15 or 16 my brother …came home from work and he had a VHS copy of a movie called Raging Bull and he sat me down and made me watch it,” he recalled. “And the next day…he made me watch it again. And he said, “You’re going to start acting again, this is what you’re going to do.” 

Getting emotional, the actor noted, “He didn’t ask me, he told me. And I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life.”

So, could Phillips’ Joker fit into a DC cinematic universe — perhaps with upcoming movie The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson? 

Phillips commented, “I don’t see it connecting to anything in the future. This is just a movie.”

Joker opens October 4.

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