Joker: Joaquin Phoenix Thanks Late Brother River for His Career

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By Bayani Miguel Acebedo | More Articles Star Wars nerd. Toy collector. Occasional Cosplayer.
September 12, 2019  12:04 PM


Joker is set to come out next month, but everyone online is already raving about Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. Phoenix actually won the Toronto International Film Festival’s Tribute Actor Award, and Phoenix used the time to thanks his late brother River.

The bit starts at 5:29:

When I was 15 or 16, my brother River came in from work, and he had a VHS copy of a movie called Raging Bull, and he sat me down and made me watch it, and the next day, he woke me up and he made me watch it again, and he said, “you’re gonna start acting again. This is what you’re gonna do.” He didn’t ask me, he just told me, and I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life.

Back in 1993, Phoenix’s older brother River Phoenix, who was also an actor, had died of a drug overdose. River was only 23 at the time, and Joaquin was only in his teens. It would have been interesting to see what kind of career the two brothers would have had if River didn’t pass; the two would have been like any famous acting family like the Gyllenhaals, Baldwins, or Wilsons.

Going back to the speech, though, it’s interesting that Phoenix should mention Raging Bull. That film was directed by Martin Scorsese, whose filmography is said to be a huge influence on Joker. Scorsese is even attached as a producer for the film.

As a fan of the darker DCEU, I’m excited to go back to this mature tone of films. Hopefully, WB will be more open to risks like this in the future. Fingers crossed we finally get the release of the Snyder Cut as well.

Catch Joker in theaters Oct. 4.

Read Also: Rotten Tomatoes Lambasted For Joker’s Negative Label Despite Having Same Score As Marvel Movies


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Bayani Miguel Acebedo is a pop-culture dork. When he's not scouring the internet for news on the latest movies and games, he's building Star Wars model kits and playing Overwatch. He's a huge Star Wars geek, and his favorite X-Wing pilot is Jek Porkins. He likes Kevin Smith and Jared Hess movies, and he also does cosplay. What a nerd.