60 MINUTES Meets the Real Joaquin Phoenix in Upcoming Interview
Intense and complex characters have become something of a specialty for actor Joaquin Phoenix, with his current critically-acclaimed and controversial role as the mentally-ill clown turned killer Arthur Fleck in JOKER a prime example. But 60 MINUTES met a more affable man behind those roles when Anderson Cooper profiled Phoenix for the next edition of 60 MINUTES. The story will be broadcast Sunday, Jan. 12 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.Phoenix admitted he still gets "petrified" on film sets. It's not stage fright, so much as the worry that he will not be able to bring to life all the ideas he has for his character. "There are so many things that I want to express...when I take on a role," he tells Cooper. "And so I guess I am just nervous that I'm not going to be able to find the right kind of space to express that." He's been known to get testy when asked about his acting process in interviews - in large part, he says, because he doesn't fully understand it himself. However, he was able to describe to Cooper how he came to a pivotal scene in JOKER, just after his character, Arthur Fleck, commits his first murder. The script called for Fleck to simply run from the crime scene and hide his gun in a restroom. Phoenix says he and the film's director, Todd Phillips, felt that the scene required something more. "It felt like the character had moved way past that...there was the opportunity to express something else, but I didn't know precisely what." Phillips played Phoenix a piece of cello music that had been composed for the film and that inspired an idea. "I thought there was some kind of movement. That it was some kind of physical transformation, right? A metamorphosis," says Phoenix. While the cameras rolled, he performed a slow, macabre dance to the haunting music to mark the transformation of his character into a deranged murderer. In the 60 MINUTES profile, he discusses his childhood and the tragic death of his brother, the actor River Phoenix. The story also includes the first group interview with the Phoenix family in decades.