Joaquin Phoenix has no regrets passing up juicy movie roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe aka. the MCU. There was once a time in Hollywood when actors were almost seen to be slumming for a paycheck by making a comic book film, but now it's almost an inevitable career move. One actor who's thus far resisted the urge is Phoenix - a fellow who is also considered one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Phoenix generally shuns mainstream movies in general, preferring to work on independent films. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has tried to lure him a few times in the past; Phoenix was supposedly the first choice to replace Ed Norton as The Hulk in The Avengers, and he was later offered the lead in Doctor Strange. The actor even mulled the latter project briefly but was reportedly putt off by the idea of committing to multiple sequels and crossovers, so the role then went to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Phoenix briefly reflected on his flirtations with the MCU in a new interview with Little White Lies - and while he admits to liking some of the movies, he doesn't sound regretful about how things worked out:
I think they make some great, fun movies. There’s nothing wrong… I’m not a f***ing, like, cinephile. I’m not a snob and I’m totally fine with… I enjoy those movies sometimes, and I think they keep the f***ing industry going in some ways, so I don’t have a problem with it at all. I think that everybody was, is… I’m trying to figure out how to say this most diplomatically, okay… I think everybody was really happy with how things turned out. All parties were satisfied.
Signing up for a comic book movie or franchise is seen as a wise move, guaranteeing a performer a semi-regular gig that pays well, and allows them to go off and work on other projects during the breaks. Phoenix, on the other hand, chooses his projects carefully, and if a script doesn't click with him, he's happier not doing it despite the pay involved.
Phoenix's thoughts on the MCU, and comic book movies in general, may raise some eyebrows in light of reports that he's currently circling Todd Phillips' Joker movie. This movie will be a gritty, R-rated take on the character, and the actor is currently the favorite to sign on. That said, he claimed to have never heard of the project during a recent interview, so either the reports are wrong, or he's still deciding.
The obvious benefit is the movie will be standalone, so he won't have to sign on for sequels. It would also be his most commercial project in years, but like he proved by passing on the MCU, he'll pass if the material doesn't speak to him. If he does leave, The Room's Tommy Wiseau is running a campaign to nab the role, so Warner Bros. next movie is obvious...
Source: Little White Lies
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