What Goes On in Joaquin Phoenix's Head When He's Shooting a Movie

When I first started the film [“The Master”] — when I first read the script — there was a great deal of flashbacks where we actually saw all these injuries and these were things we were going to shoot; but as the film progressed we didn’t end up shooting those things so I’d kind of been developing this physical reaction to these things that I thought might be happening that we might be seeing but we weren’t no longer shooting them and seeing them, I imagine, because of budget.

That’s actually what I love about movies; like, when you start kind of investigating them and going into it, you realize that so much of it sometimes is just, like, luck. Because, you know, you just, you don’t know how it’s going to go and I think you just come up with these ideas and you’re just trying things and you don’t know what’s going to work, you don’t know what the final film is gonna be.

That’s why I always give credit to the directors because I feel like they’re the ones that are ultimately responsible for the performance.

Joaquin Phoenix, in a rare interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, on what you don’t see in the movies. Read more Fresh Air interviews.


Photo: ssoosay, Flickr

We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.