Actor Joaquin Phoenix finds love in a virtual world in 'Her'

Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:39am EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joaquin Phoenix knew he had to star in Spike Jonze's latest film "Her," an unconventional romance that explores ideas about intimacy, isolation, relationships and technology, because it wasn't a typical love story.

Phoenix's depressed writer character finds love in the film, set in a futuristic Los Angeles, but the object of his affection isn't a co-worker or the girl next door. It's an intuitive, voice-controlled, computer operating system named Samantha.

"I thought it was really interesting and unique, that there was this great emotional center you could grab onto, that it wasn't too esoteric," Phoenix told Reuters ahead of the film's opening in U.S. theaters on Wednesday.

"There are these great big ideas and themes to explore but it felt totally accessible."

Phoenix, a triple Oscar nominee for his roles in "Gladiator," "The Master" and "Walk The Line," which also earned him a best actor Golden Globe in 2006, plays Theodore Twombly, a writer for

By day he dictates affectionate letters that are transcribed by a computer into "handwritten" notes for clients to their loved ones. In the evening he plays a large video game alone in his high-rise, sparsely furnished apartment.

The National Board of Review named "Her" best picture of 2013, calling it "an outstanding achievement that is sure to become a new classic," and awarded Jonze its best director award.

Phoenix, 39, nabbed his fourth Golden Globe nomination for his role in "Her," while the film won Globe nominations for best picture in a comedy or musical and best screenplay.   Continued...

Cast members Joaquin Phoenix (L) and Scarlett Johansson (R) arrive for a red carpet event for the movie "Her" at the Rome Film Festival, in this file photo from November 10, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Files