Joaquin Phoenix is defended from claims of being ‘difficult’ to work with by director James Gray


Joaquin Phoenix is defended from claims of being ‘difficult’ to work with by director James Gray: ‘He’s “difficult” in the best way’

Joaquin Phoenix was defended from claims of being ‘difficult’ while working on film sets by director James Gray during an interview with Vulture that was published on Thursday.

During the sit-down, the 53-year-old filmmaker spoke about his admiration for the 48-year-old performer’s dedication to his craft.

Gray, who is currently preparing for the release of his upcoming movie Armageddon Time, also spoke about working with the Phoenix on the set of their 2012 film The Immigrant. 

No big deal: Joaquin Phoenix was defended from claims of being 'difficult' while working on film sets by director James Gray during an interview with Vulture that was published on Thursday; he is seen in 2020

No big deal: Joaquin Phoenix was defended from claims of being ‘difficult’ while working on film sets by director James Gray during an interview with Vulture that was published on Thursday; he is seen in 2020

Gray began by expressing that working with Phoenix provided him with a creative challenge, for which he was grateful.

‘He’s not difficult. He’s great. He’s “difficult” in the best way. You want that difficult,’ he said.

The filmmaker went on to speak about why the Joker star has been given the label of being hard to work with over the years. 

‘With Joaquin, the “difficult” label comes because he gets very open about his vulnerability and his need to feel safe in a space,’ he said.

Enjoying it: Gray began by expressing that working with Phoenix provided him with a creative challenge, for which he was grateful. 'The "difficult" label comes because he gets very open about his vulnerability and his need to feel safe in a space,' he said; seen in October

Enjoying it: Gray began by expressing that working with Phoenix provided him with a creative challenge, for which he was grateful. ‘The “difficult” label comes because he gets very open about his vulnerability and his need to feel safe in a space,’ he said; seen in October

Gray did recall one situation in particular where Phoenix did give his collaborators a hard time while prepping for a role. 

‘Joaquin in table reads, when it’s his turn to speak, he’d say, “Bulls***, bulls***, bulls***, my line. Bulls***, bulls***.” He didn’t want to reveal himself there,’ he said.

The filmmaker also spoke about an instance where the performer’s willingness to improvise led to a particularly poignant moment on set.

‘In the middle of the take, he just screamed, “Belva! Get in here!” [Actress Dagmara Dominczyk] just walked into the middle of the take, and she actually did something great,’ he recalled. 

In the past: Gray did recall one situation in particular where Phoenix did give his collaborators a hard time while prepping for a role; he is seen with Marion Cotillard in 2013's The Immigrant

In the past: Gray did recall one situation in particular where Phoenix did give his collaborators a hard time while prepping for a role; he is seen with Marion Cotillard in 2013’s The Immigrant

Rolling with it: The filmmaker also spoke about an instance where the performer's willingness to improvise led to a particularly poignant moment on set; he is seen with Marion Cotillard in 2013's The Immigrant

Rolling with it: The filmmaker also spoke about an instance where the performer’s willingness to improvise led to a particularly poignant moment on set; he is seen with Marion Cotillard in 2013’s The Immigrant

Phoenix is currently preparing for the release of the upcoming comedy horror feature Disappointment Blvd., in which he will star.

The movie is centered on a successful entrepreneur and follows him through several decades of life.

The film will also feature performances from figures such as Patti LuPone, Parker Posey and Stephen McKinley Henderson, among others.

Leading man: Phoenix is currently preparing for the release of the upcoming comedy horror feature Disappointment Blvd., in which he will star; he is seen in 2021

Leading man: Phoenix is currently preparing for the release of the upcoming comedy horror feature Disappointment Blvd., in which he will star; he is seen in 2021

Development on the feature was announced in 2020, and Phoenix signed on to star the following year.

Physical production took place last year, with much shooting being done near Montreal.

Disappointment Blvd. was originally supposed to be released this year, although it is now expected to arrive in 2023. 

In the future: Disappointment Blvd. was originally supposed to be released this year, although it is now expected to arrive in 2023; Phoenix is seen in 2021

In the future: Disappointment Blvd. was originally supposed to be released this year, although it is now expected to arrive in 2023; Phoenix is seen in 2021

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