Something very curious happened during the career of American actor Joaquin Phoenix. Suddenly he decided to retire from acting and become a hip hop artist, and with this, came also a change in his lifestyle: he seemed rather absent minded (stoned for many). In a televised interview with David Letterman in the Tonight Show we felt we had lost a great actor, and even a human being, for he seemed completely “out”. Months later, his friend Casey Affleck released a film about Phoenix’s transformation that he called ‘I’m Still Here’ and presented it in diverse festivals. Only after did we know it was all staged, a huge campaign to shock our sense of reality, of how we react to this kind of change in celebrity and, at the same time, an advertisement campaign for the movie itself. In the end, the immersive quality of Phoenix’s work lent itself perfectly to this experiment.
Younger brother to River Phoenix, a promising actor who died tragically at 23, Joaquin had started his acting career as a child, and made the transition with no dent in his talent, most notably in Gus Van Sant’s ‘To Die For’ with Nicole Kidman.
Soon it was known around Hollywood about this young new actor who could become the next Brando, and he began to be offered superlative supporting roles in films like ‘Quills’, his Oscar nominated turn in ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Signs’.
Once he was ready, Joaquin jumped to leading roles and it took him almost no time to find himself in all the Best Actors lists with films like ‘Walk The Line’, ‘Two Lovers’ and ‘The Master’.
His latest work for Spike Jonze in ‘Her’ is no less impressive, even if it got kicked out of the Oscar nominations (2013 proved a crowded year for acting), specially because it shows a lighter and happier, yet lonely side to his endless capacity as an actor.
Here’s a list of some of the performances you should not miss from one of the best actors of his generation.