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Joaquin Phoenix is not the easiest actor to sign onto just any project. He’s thoughtful and precise when it comes to choosing projects, and he’s not too crazy about big studio movies. The Oscar-nominated performer has notoriously flirted with a few big projects in the past only to ultimately decline to be involved—most notably Marvel’s Doctor Strange, in which he would have played the title character. So it was somewhat surprising when we learned that he would be leading Joker for Warner Bros., which seemed a bit out of character for the Inherent Vice and The Sisters Brothers actor.
And Phoenix admits he certainly had his reservations at first. Speaking with TotalFilm, the actor says it took him a while to commit, explaining why he was hesitant:
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“It took me a while [to commit]. Now, when I look back, I don’t understand why… There was a lot of fear, yeah. But I always say there’s motivating fear and debilitating fear. There’s the fear where you cannot make a **** step, and there’s the kind where it’s like, ‘OK, what do we do? That’s not good enough.’ And you’re digging deeper and deeper. I love that kind of fear. It guides us, makes us work harder.”
Image via Warner Bros.
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There was another reason Phoenix was hesitant, and it has to do with the way superhero or comic book movies are usually told:
“I think oftentimes, in these movies, we have these simplified, reductive archetypes,...
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