Joaquin Phoenix feared acting career was over after he made I’m Still Here

Joaquin Phoenix felt “lost and desperate” until he read the script for Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 psychological drama, The Master.

Joaquin Phoenix feared he would never be able to get another acting job after he made I’m Still Here.

The Gladiator actor stunned fans in 2008 when he announced he was retiring from Hollywood to become a hip-hop artist.

Though Phoenix stayed in character for public appearances for two years, he later confirmed that the whole scenario was a stunt set up for the 2010 mockumentary parody directed by Casey Affleck.

Reflecting on the project during an appearance on the SmartLess podcast, Phoenix recalled how people didn’t want to believe him even when he told them the truth about I’m Still Here.

“At that point, we had been shooting for two years, I think. I had been so looking forward to this moment of saying that it wasn’t real – it had been so uncomfortable and I had avoided so many friends because I didn’t know how to keep up the ruse,” he said. “(And) nobody believed us. They thought we were like, ‘Oh yeah, of course after you f**ked your career, you’re trying to say it’s a spoof ’cause you’re trying to save your career now. So, I was like, ‘F**king can’t win.'”

Phoenix then recounted how agents and directors were reluctant to hire him for other projects.

“As a product of this, at that point, a lot of people that would maybe consider hiring me were like, ‘Even if it’s not real you kind of have to be f**king nuts to do this, so he’s probably not someone we want to work with,'” the 48-year-old continued. “My options at the time left a lot to be desired in terms of work. I remember at one point just really being desperate and feeling like I really f**ked myself and I can’t get a job. I was really considering doing this movie that was really terrible. I knew it was terrible but I was just like, ‘I have to get back and show people that this wasn’t f**king real.’ And I almost did it.”

And while Phoenix felt “lost and desperate” during that time, he reached a turning point when he read the script for Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 psychological drama, The Master.

“I didn’t even finish the script and I had to prevent myself from saying yes right then,” he added.

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