Phoenix says "no turning back" on quitting acting

Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:18pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joaquin Phoenix insists he isn't being arrogant, but acting, unlike hip-hop music, just doesn't excite him anymore.

The twice Oscar-nominated actor says he doesn't understand controversy surrounding his decision to quit acting for the sometimes violent world of hip-hop music, even though it came at the height of his career. And he didn't really think anyone would care.

Phoenix, 34, spoke about his decision on Wednesday for what he says is his last film, tortured romance "Two Lovers," in which he plays opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. It is set for release in the United States on Friday.

"It's a personal thing. It's not a judgment on other people or on the industry. It simply doesn't excite me anymore, there is nothing left for me to discover. I know that maybe sounds arrogant, as if I am a great actor and I have done these great things ... but I achieved my idea of success."

He said there would be no change in his decision, which was "something I had thought about a lot."

"When music replaced acting for me, there was no turning back," he said. "I have never wanted to be an actor for the sake of being an actor, I have never been wanting to just make money or to be famous."

Phoenix was a child actor and the brother of deceased actor River Phoenix. He won initial acclaim in smaller films like Gus Van Sant's "To Die For," before going on to big Hollywood movies like his first Oscar-nominated role in "Gladiator."

His second nomination came for crooning country songs and portraying singer Johnny Cash in biopic, "Walk the Line."   Continued...

<p>Actor Joaquin Phoenix displays words written on his fists as he poses for photo at the Los Angeles premiere of the movie "Che" during the AFI Fest 2008 at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California, November 1, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>