Joaquin Rafael Phoenix (born Joaquin Rafael Bottom on October 28, 1974 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) is an American actor and the younger brother of deceased young actor River Phoenix.
While his older brother was a widely praised up-and-coming actor who ultimately died (via drug overdose) before he could reach his full potential as an actor, Joaquin ultimately avoided such a fate and did obtain the sort of successful film career that his brother would have surely had if not for his death.
His most famous roles include Commodus in Gladiator, Merrill Hess in Signs, Jack Daglish in Hotel Rwanda, his critically acclaimed portrayal of Johnny Cash in the biopic Walk the Line and a new take on The Joker in the eponymous film.
In 2008, Phoenix announced that he would be retiring from acting to become a professional musician, mainly in the genre of rap. No one seemed to know if he was serious or pulling an Andy Kaufman. A documentary, I'm Still Here, made by his brother-in-law, Casey Affleck was released in 2010. It featured Phoenix acting crazy, and it didn't help to answer the question. On September 16th, 2010, Affleck revealed that the whole thing, going all the way back to Phoenix's switch to a musical career, was a big hoax, and in effect, the most extensive character that Phoenix has put together yet.
Phoenix is a vegan and an animal rights activist. He narrated Earthlings, a highly disturbing documentary about animal abuse, and produced ''Gunda, a wordless Nature Documentary set on a farm. Hes also a known environmentalist and an ally for queer people and minorities, even criticizing Hollywood for not being inclusive enough.
- SpaceCamp (1986)
- The Adventures of Superboy (1988)
- Parenthood (1989)
- To Die For (1995)
- 8mm (1998)
- Quills (2000)
- Gladiator (2000) — Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
- Buffalo Soldiers (2001)
- Signs (2002)
- Brother Bear (2003) (voice)
- Ladder 49 (2004)
- The Village (2004)
- Hotel Rwanda (2004)
- Walk the Line (2005) — Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor
- The Master (2012) — Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor
- Her (2013)
- The Immigrant (2013)
- Inherent Vice (2014)
- Irrational Man (2015)
- Mary Magdalene (2018)
- You Were Never Really Here (2018)
- The Sisters Brothers (2018)
- Joker (2019) — Won the Academy Award for Best Actor
Tropes related to his work include:
- Awesome McCoolname:
- His surname, Phoenix, is a mythological creature associated with fire and the sun. His first name, Joaquin, isn't too bad either. (It's pronounced "hwa-keen".)
- Even his middle name, Rafael, sounds cool.
- Broken Bird: Some can see him as this (although more subdued) mainly due to this severe anxiety and the obvious struggle when mentioning River.
- Career Resurrection: It was thought that Phoenix had lost his mind following the drugged out Letterman interview, and even when it was revealed to be a hoax for I'm Not Here, many were put off, wondering what would become of his career. After teaming up with Paul Thomas Anderson to make The Master (earning him an Oscar nomination), and then following it up with Spike Jonze's Her, many were quick to make a complete reversal in opinion, instead invoked Phoenix as one of the best actors working today, culminating in his Oscar win for Joker.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Whether its due to his social anxiety or him intentionally acting this way, hes been shown to be an oddball in public, especially in interviews.
- Nice Guy: Whilst definitely weird and very method, he has often shown himself to be a gracious, compassionate and friendly person that loves his family and friends.
- Reclusive Artist: Does do interviews occasionally but is otherwise far more content with being practically invisible to the media.
- What Could Have Been: Phoenix got very far into the casting process to play Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He ultimately dropped himself out of contention while his contract was being negotiated because he didn't want to get tied into a multi-film deal. Part of the reasons he accepted to play in Joker (outside of Awesome, Dear Boy) was that he would have to commit to a single movie instead of a multi-picture deal.