Either Joaquin Phoenix is a Zen Buddhist master or he really dislikes talking to the press. TV Guide Online asked the Signs star who's out promoting Buffalo Soldiers (opening tomorrow) what he does when he isn't busy filming one of his intense performances. His response? "Nothing."
Um, could he elaborate? "My forte is nothing," he grins, adding he does suffer some work withdrawal away from movie sets. "When you're making a movie, you feel such an immense amount of pressure every single day to get things perfect. And, in some ways, that's addictive. Often, I go through this period of usually a month after I finish a movie [where] I'm going, 'What the f--- do I do now?' I always have that experience, like the first days of summer vacation, where you wake up and go, 'Oh my God, I'm late for school!'"
Peacetime soldiers like his Buffalo character, Private Ray Elwood an army clerk and black market smuggler in late Cold War Germany probably could've used Phoenix's tutelage in the art of doing nothing. "I had asked [some soldiers] about being there, and what it was like, and what they disliked the most," he recalls, "and they all said they were bored."
Phoenix has a long list of upcoming films, from firefighter drama Ladder 49 to M. Night Shyamalan's next thriller, The Woods. In between projects, he says you won't catch him killing time with the perks of fame and fortune. "I didn't become an actor because I wanted people to take pictures of me or to get my autograph or to take me into restaurants," he says. "That's my least favorite part of it. I became an actor because I like the process of acting. Everything else, to me, is a real pain in the ass."