For 'Inherent Vice,' Phoenix plays complicated on and off screen

Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:20pm EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Joaquin Phoenix makes a fist and raps it three times on the arm of a chair.

"It's like one's enough," he says about press interviews, forcing a grin.

The three-time Oscar nominee, known as much for his enigmatic public persona as the complicated characters he embodies on screen, has to talk about his hippy private eye in Paul Thomas Anderson's trippy mystery "Inherent Vice."

The performance already earned the 40-year-old a Golden Globe best actor nomination on Thursday.

"There's an expectation that you're out promoting the film, and that's understandable," said Phoenix, whose near-silent appearance on David Letterman's "Late Show" in 2009 was a viral hit.

"I understand that need, and honestly a lot of time it may seem like I don't," he added. "But I do enjoy the opportunity to talk about the film and I enjoy these sit-down, one-on-one TV interviews."

Known for roles in "Walk the Line" and Anderson's 2012 film "The Master," the actor drew headlines earlier this week by telling Letterman he was engaged to his yoga instructor after demonstrating a position he called "harnessing of the hog."

The next day Phoenix said the engagement was a joke.   Continued...

Cast member Joaquin Phoenix poses at the premiere of "Inherent Vice" at TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 10, 2014.    REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni