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Quotes

ON ACTING

From Stern: "They do everything for you, they even brush your teeth. I don't need that. I feel fine when I can shoot. Shooting can be quite exhausting but then comes the moment where you know how it works. Like a electric shock."

From Stern: "The isolation was important for my role [in Buffalo Soldiers]. The soldiers somehow lived in their own world, too. When we didn't shoot, there was only the hotel. There was also a falafel snack bar just round the corner. I am a vegetarian you know, and I thought it would be difficult [in Germany]. But falafel, yes, mmm."

"Forget the Oscar nomination [for Gladiator]. The real pinnacle is that I'm playing an animated character in a Disney film. Isn't that the greatest? I play a native American transformed into a bear. Don't call me a leading man. I don't care about that. I'm a leading bear. I am content!"

From London Evening Standard: "When I first heard about [To Die For], I thought, what a terrible idea — a teacher seduces this kid and he kills her husband? That's awful. About a month later my agent calls me back and says, 'Read the script!' And I was like, 'Joaq — what are you doing? You've ruined it.' I drove up to New York, went in for an audition with Gus, and that was it."

From London Evening Standard: "The part I love about this job is the acting itself. Obvious, I know. But there are those brief moments when you actually tap into something. And for about thirty seconds, you almost feel invincible."

"I really hate when people put that label on a film, that it's 'dark.' I don't know what that means. What people call dark, to me actually makes it more interesting."

"We all had active imaginations and since we were little we would act out in performances. But later I got tired so I left it. Then I came back and left it again. When I turned 17 I asked myself what most people ask themselves: 'What am I doing with my life?' I was older, I wanted to find myself and find something I liked doing. I remember feeling like something was missing, there was a void. I started thinking that void could be filled by performing. I came to New York and started actively auditioning to find employment."

"The Oscars, to me, was a recognition of my work, and in a way it was saying, 'You're not alone.'"

"I didn't let myself enjoy [the Oscar nomination] and have fun with it. I felt like Miss America, I started weeping. An Oscar-nomination; it's the thing."

Q: Is it easy for you to go in front of the camera?
"No. I'm vomiting days before I start shooting a new movie."

"[Merrill Hess] is the kind of guy who would have beaten me up in school for eating tofu."

"I'm not the indie kid, and I'm also not the John Grisham novel hero, but I am all of those things. I do whatever excites me at the time. I'll be in some huge $80 million buddy cop movie, I don't care, and I'll also do some wild independent movie. I refuse to have an agenda."

"I don't know why I always get to play these guys who have few redeeming features. But don't knock it. Villains are much more fun."

"I've always felt when I was younger that there was something missing. I guess you go through that growing up — you want something. As soon as I started working as an actor, I just felt this void had filled."

"As I'm reading a script, I start to see the character. I always seem to do something to my hair. A lot of stuff I do for a part, people don't even notice, but I notice, and it makes the character whole for me."

"I mean, I get nervous in restaurants! I'm still figuring it out. Once the cameras are rolling, I'm right there, I'm comfortable, I just let go. In between takes, yeah, I'll get self-conscious. It's the process of film-making that I enjoy, not the stuff that comes later. But if you work as much as I want to, your face is bound to get out."

"I love acting. It makes me feel good."

"I guess I feel I'm being productive and creative when I act. Everybody needs that: photographers, writers. I feel so happy when I'm working. It's what I want to do. Other than that, I can't analyse it."

"It's really a glorious feeling. I'm absolutely addicted."

"The minute I read To Die For, I knew that I wanted the character to have that Billy Ray Cyrus sort of hair. So I had them put in some extensions and pierce the ear. I thought this was a really ridiculous hair style, and I still do. But it's funny, in Canada, I'm walking to the set laughing about it, and I look up and like 60 percent of the crew has this haircut — the hockey cut."

"I would do one of those huge movies because I want to experience it. I think it's probably a lot easier for me to do a scene in which I'm having an intimate conversation with someone on a quiet little set than it is to scream at a blue screen because I think a giant dragon's penis is trying to swallow me. That, to me, is going to be a challenge."

"I'm not in this business for the lifestyle, to get into places and have free drinks."

"I hate acting acting. I try to be."

"I like to find the heart of characters that in other people's hands would be the dupe."

"I really think that the greatest fear for actors is reaching the point at which they go, 'God, I'm good at this', because I think the work will really suffer."

"The reason I keep making movies is I hate the last thing I did. I'm trying to rectify my wrongs."

"I don't do many big studio films. I've been offered a few but nothing like Gladiator. Those films are usually loaded with lines like, 'Johnny, get the gun!', the sort of stuff that just makes me go, 'Oh God!'. But Gladiator offered me everything I could possibly want in a film."

"Once you get into the wardrobe and you get on set, you really forget about how much money is being put into your production. It's just you and the director and the actors."

"I love the pressure of making movies. I hate rehearsing. I can't rehearse. But when you roll that camera, there's something about it, it's magic. I'm gone and can't be held accountable. I'm a maniac for work. When I'm working, everything works. When I've got nothing to do I go a bit kooky."

"For River, as it is for me, acting and movies were a need. I can't explain it."

"In some ways it can be therapeutic. I think when you go through a really intense scene you just feel like such a sense of contentment and calm that kind of washes over you. Ten hours and you're shooting the scene over and over again, crying or screaming or whatever, it's so intense. You know we all feel better after a good cry... Try it for 10 hours."

 


ON CO-STARS

"I think you have multiple extended families, and I'll always feel close to people I work with. I think that's when I work best. It's important to feel safe."

"I felt confidence in [M] Night [Shyamalan]'s ability as a director and the screenplay was so tight, you know right where he's going."

"If anyone's ever been a big brother to me, it was [Russell] Crowe."

"It's strange. On The Yards, we all — particularly Charlize [Theron] and me — had really powerful scenes with each other, where you just know somebody's soul, completely exposed. And suddenly, everyone's packing up, 'Yeah, we'll see each other', but it's never going to be the same. I don't know how much you know them and how much you know their characters. It's tough sometimes. I stay in touch. I talk to every director I've worked with, and a lot of the actors also."

"[Ridley Scott] is brilliant. I have never worked with anyone quite like him. I have learned so much. He's incredibly patient and tolerant. He just has such a brilliant eye and attention to detail and somehow manages to balance the larger aspects of the film visually and the more human story, giving each story his equal amount of attention."

"[Russell Crowe] is a brilliant actor. I love all the films I have seen him in, but I think he is extraordinary in [Gladiator]. He is such a giving person, and also as an actor. He's just a person who throws parties and would take you sailing."

 


ON FAME

"I go into movies thinking, we're performing, but with interviews, we're pretending to be completely real. I just can't get my head around it. And the things we say in this hour could permanently shape our personas. I mean, tell me that's not a little odd! And because I think that's odd, people think I'm odd. And that's strange. Know what I'm saying?"

"What I really hate doing is TV: twelve interviews in an hour pretending to be Oh-So-Fresh, which I'm not."

From In Style: "To be honest, I didn't know what I was doing [modelling for Prada]. I just wanted to show another side of me. A little trick for my career because at that time I only got juvenile outsider roles. The moment my suit and hair gel pictures were published I was really offered more mature characters."

From Marie Claire: "I don't think there's anything interesting worth printing about me."

"I always think its odd that someone goes out there in front of all these people and tells really stupid stories that no one cares about. I know I'm uncomfortable and really awkward out there. But the people who seem too comfortable — man, they are weird! I mean, what kind of person are you that you feel really comfortable with people watching and applauding you? I fear enjoying that. Is that weird?"

"I hate talking about my movies. Why does everyone think I know what they're about?"

"[If I become a teenage heartthrob], I'm gonna eat a lot and gain weight. Then I'm gonna scar my face."

"I don't give a shit if I look like a freak; look at me right now. This is part of what's so sad about the business. They build you up — they take me, see they make me look pretty, they put the stuff in the hair, put the makeup on, snap the picture — then when they decide that I'm fucked-up and on the downward spiral, they start using the picture someone's snapped where I've just gotten off a plane, flown all night through 7 time zones and I'm in mid-blink. While they like you, they use the good picture. But when word gets out that you might be doing drugs, when word gets out, right or wrong, that you, gasp, had drinks at a party, they dig up this picture and say Oh, look, he's stoned at the airport, he's stoned all the time."

"That kind of fame — I couldn't have it in my life. I love that we can sit on the lawn in Central Park and I'm just one of the millions. I don't want to lose that. I'm trying to figure out the perfect strategy. And it's tough. I just want to be right in the middle."

"With the work I do, if I feel like I want some materialistic item that's going to make me happier, if I'm going to look forward to driving a convertible on the weekend, if it makes me feel fabulous, then I'll do it. And I'm not going to think, Well, what about someone else? Because I feel better and I've been able to express desires that I have and I feel good, then I'm going to be in the right frame of mind to help someone else out."

"I think that you try the best that you can, but we're all selfish, we all want something fabulous for ourselves and want to make it. I know people that are like, 'I would never do one of those Japanese commercials for a million dollars, two million dollars.' Screw you. Goddamn right I'll do a commercial for two million dollars. Are you high? Fucking-A, I will. I'll do it for two million dollars and then what am I going to do tomorrow? I'm going to do something good with that money. That's how I see it."

 


ON FAMILY

From Cosmopolitan: "We didn't set out saying, 'We're going to be actors'. But it was pretty apparent that there was talent in the family."

"I remember us being poor. But I never felt embarrassed, or like I was missing anything. I don't remember the hardship or trying to make it, just how my parents always managed to get through."

"In comparison to a lot of other people's childhood ours was idyllic. Our parents were always there encouraging us, trying to get us to express our creativity. I had a wonderful family."

"I had a really wonderful upbringing. We were a tight family. It was wonderful to grow up with so many siblings. We were all just a year or two apart, and we were always so supportive of each other. I learned everything from my older brother and sister and taught it to my younger sisters."

 


ON HIMSELF

From The Face: "This is my problem with interviews and with quotes! I don't think there is a person on this fucking planet that you can define with one sentence. Not with one fucking interview! Not with a hundred fucking interviews! 'Cause we don't know what we are! Sometimes I don't even know who I am, what's my nature!"

From London Evening Standard: "People say, 'You've got everything going for you! You can do anything you want!' But I get nervous. I'm confident that I'll work, but I hope it's something to me. Sometimes I feel like I'm behind and running out of time as it is. There's still more for me to do."

From Cosmopolitan: "I look great there." [He is gently told that the photograph is, in fact, of actor-director Ed Burns.] "Oh, that's not me? I was going to say... I'm good-looking."

From Movieline: "I look down at the face of the scale and it's like, YOU LIAR!"

"I never think that I'm good at anything I do. I can always do it better, I know my weakness. I've never been perfect."

"I grew up nervous."

"If you just made a movie about a guy that walked around a lot, talked to friends and played on the computer, that would be me."

"I'm inherently a blubbering slob, I'm like a shaved hamster. So what? I don't need to become a famous star. My work as an actor is forever and that is what inspires me. The fame that goes with it isn't important. I hate the pressure to have to look constantly good!"

"The press has just gone out of their way to insist that every day, in addition to brushing my teeth and taking a shower, I bang my head against the wall in preparation. Which is just odd, because one day on The Yards and another on Return To Paradise, I had some tense, emotional scenes, and you're standing around with people drinking coffee and saying, 'Did you see the game last night?' So you're thinking, 'How the fuck do I get into this (heavy) place, right?' So I do something extreme, but suddenly that defines me, and it's totally inaccurate, because that's one moment. And they cut out the rest."

"I didn't realise 'til much later when journalists told me that I wasn't normal that I didn't have a 'normal' upbringing. I was like, 'Oh really?' It was news to me."

"I don't think I am [a typical man]. I think I was raised where I was encouraged to express myself. I think acting came out of that. In that sense, I think I was raised somewhat unconventionally. I think that was encouraged. And I think my girlfriend likes it. I think I'm comfortable talking about things that men typically wouldn't."

"I have been trying to reinvent myself as Bob Vila. I've been doing some homework. I now have this pulley system. I didn't want everything on the ground, so I decided to hang these, like, candles and plants. I think I may have overdone it. Now it's beginning to look like a torture chamber. It's like Hellraiser — chains swinging."

Q: Why are you so hard on yourself? Do you like anything you do?
"I brush my teeth very well. Do I like anything that I do? I think like is the wrong word."

From In Style: "Lock myself up [to prepare for a scene]? Who says that? At best I hide to concentrate. But it's true. Sometimes I'm obsessed and a little difficult to handle."

From Marie Claire: "It's been a year since last time I tried (to give up smoking). I went to a hypnotist; we sat down and started talking. A couple of hours later, I woke up; the hypnotist wasn't in the room, but his wife was. I was like 'Oh my goodness, I fell asleep and didn't get to talk to the doctor.' And she said 'Don't worry, you talked...' I freaked out, left their place, immediately bought a pack of cigarettes and smoked, terrified of what I'd said."

"I was on this one flight and I got so nervous that I started shaking and banging my head against the wall and going, 'Oh God! Oh my God!' and making all the other passengers extremely nervous. In the end, the captain had to come out and hold me down and he told me to shut the fuck up and to calm down. It was pretty bad, but it did calm me down."

"In Spanish, leaf — I think, if I'm right — is hoja, and eye is ojo, and garlic is ajo. And so I would confuse them and I'd introduce myself as Garlic all the time and... as you can imagine, it didn't work out so good."

"I'm not a social guy. I'm quiet by nature. I love to go visit my sisters, hit the road a bit. I'd rather play with my sister Liberty's kid Rio than go to clubs or shows."

"I was a little terror, man. I just wanted to run around and break windows and stuff. Now I just prefer a slow hang."

"I just don't think too much ahead of time. I just take things as they come."

"Thirteen was a happening year for me, man. I tried everything. Painting. Then poetry. You know how you write something when you're young and you like it and you read it like five days later and you're like, 'What the hell was that?' That's me."

"I bite [my nails], yes. I used to smoke. Now I eat my thumbs."

"I changed [my name] because no one in the states could pronounce 'Joaquin' and I used to get really embarrassed about it as a kid. All the other kids in my family had gorgeous names and I got 'Joaquin', you know what I mean? So I said 'This is not good. Even I can't say it'."

"I enjoy humour more than anything, I don't really sit around banging my head and crying all the time."

 


ON LIFE

From Cosmopolitan: "When you become satisfied, you stop fighting, and I like fighting. "It means that I'm constantly progressing and evolving. I'm never satisfied, and hopefully, I never will be."

"In my life, I try to find the finest qualities in people, regardless of what they look like."

"We always have angels in our lives — people who became friends and are to this day."

"I think fear represents what we don't know. By definition it pushes us towards... towards understanding... which is kind of the basis of human nature."

From PETA.org: "I think you're a fucking asshole if you wear fur. It's ridiculous! There's no need for real fur — since there are compassionate alternatives. And furs are ugly in general, be they synthetic or real. Don't tell me it's about warmth, because people who wear furs wouldn't be caught dead in big down coats."

 


ON LIV

"What can I say? We hit it off immediately. She's a darling. I've said it over and over again. She's just very real, right there, never like a movie star. She's so genuine, and she doesn't take herself too seriously. It shows in the work she does that her honesty stands out most."

"I knew there was something special between Liv and I from the first day we met. I didn't plan on us becoming lovers but I did think I'd found a great new friend."

"I was in awe. Every once in a while you find an actor that, with one word, can sum up eight different emotions. She absolutely nailed that."

"Liv and I have a really solid relationship. That's what makes it possible for us to be apart so much. We make sure our time together is quality time."

"I'm a great believer in people coming into your life, and you into theirs, for a reason. And I know that when Liv and I met, it was for a reason — I really needed her and she really needed me. And at a certain point, I think we stopped evolving with each other, stopped progressing, and made a very mature decision to move on, even though there was still a great love there. There's no one gossipy thing that I can share. I'm thankful that we had the time we had."

"Liv Tyler and I lived together for three years, but that's over now. I seem to wander around without a real residence, but the truth is that I want a steady relationship and home and all that. It just hasn't happened yet."

"People move in and out of your life when both need it. When I met her, she certainly had this spunk, this kind of zest for life and excitement about the future. And at that point, I suppose, I was bitter about a lot of things: about my brother and the press and how ugly everything seemed. Liv helped change my perspective, and that was a great thing."

 


ON LOVE

"I don't really go for a particular 'type' [of girl] although I find that in the past I've tended to go for dark haired girls. There's something very mysterious and aloof about them. I also love the British accent, it's sexy."

"Believe me, its hard to find a woman who will walk up to you and say, 'I find you really attractive'. It doesn't happen very often. But if you meet anybody who likes me, please say hi and thanks."

Q: Do you want to get married and have kids?
"Yeah, sure, at some point. I don't think I'm quite ready for all that yet."

"I don't try and make girls pronounce my name. I just tell them to call me kitten."

"I once had a Catholic girlfriend, but she wouldn't share... um... physical loving."

"My significant other right now is myself, which is what happens when you suffer from multiple personality disorder and self-obsession."


ON RIVER

From Interview: "I don't really think I had really been aware of the fame that my brother had acquired, because he never carried himself as such. Our television at home had only one channel, and it was PBS. I never saw premieres, never watched Entertainment Tonight, any of that. So his celebrity was another world, And when that world was suddenly brought to our doorstep, I think it just rocked me. You just want to go through your own process of acceptance, or understanding — if there is any — without any other influences. Through all that I hadn't seen much that was positive. I mean there certainly was an outpouring of love from a lot of people, but more than anything, there was a lot of ugliness."

From Cosmopolitan: "I'm proud of my brother. I would never not want to be associated with him."

From Movieline:"I've heard stuff about how the night River died he was partying and all that — it's so untrue. That night we were together. He was just playing guitar. He wanted to show me a new song. And... I wanted to go out to see Flea play, because I'd never seen him play before. River wanted to go home, just hang out, play guitar. I was the one who wanted to go out and he was just making sure to take care of me. But some guy who claims he was best friends with River comes out — I don't know who the fuck he is, neither does anyone else — claiming all this bullshit. That is why I've been reluctant to share anything."

"It's tragic, because part of me wants to open up. I mean, there are things that I'd love to clear up. But at the same time, the more I state that publicly that can be taken, used and distorted, the more I add to my family's grief and my own grief."

"I don't have the slightest desire to speak over my dead brother. It gets on my nerves to always be compared with him. My brother was a magnificent person and an outstanding actor."

"This 911 call was sent in the radio and television. It was terrible. They photographed him in his coffin. And these hysterical girls who were at the funeral almost fell into the grave. Repulsive. It was a long time before I overcame this shock."

"I'm still... it's very difficult to talk about it because when you lose something, someone, it's such a great loss, you try and hold onto anything that you have, and memories that you have, and what was so difficult and what scarred me for a long time was when those memories were robbed from me. I wasn't allowed to experience them on my own time. Other people took advantage of their access to me, and suddenly my memories were distorted and changed. So it's very difficult, it's hard for me to talk about it now. When you lose someone, you need to go through a really long period to try and understand what's happened and to feel that loss in your own way. It's more difficult if it's a public death because it's going to take you that much longer to try and understand what's happened. So I dont think I can really share it with you."

"My brother's death has been spread out across the world. The press has been heartless. It's entertainment to them."

"After River's death, I felt like I was in an altered state. It took me over a year to get my life back."

"To me, it's a crime to sneak in and take a picture of someone dead in their... It's a crime and if I ever found out who did that, I'd probably end up in prison. Because I'd beat the living shit out of them."

"River and I would talk about getting old, being in our 50s together, how it'd probably take us that long to get to work together. There was something gorgeous about us being old together. River will be missed — period. I mean now, more than ever I wish I could talk to him."

"If someone wants to write about me being in my brother's shadow, that's their prerogative. I can't worry about it, I'm very proud of my brother."

 

Quotes provided by www.joaquin-phoenix.net


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Last modified on Monday, April 23, 2007 9:25 AM