Joaquin Phoenix thanked his late brother River Phoenix for giving him a push to get back into acting during an emotional acceptance speech on Monday.
The Oscar-nominated star gave an emotional speech as he was presented with the Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto International Film Festival Tribute Gala on Monday for his role in Todd Phillips’ Joker.
And he told the star-studded audience that his success was all thanks to his older brother, who tragically died at the age of 23 in 1993.
“When I was 15 or 16 my brother River came home from work and he had a VHS copy of a movie called Raging Bull and he sat me down and made me watch it. And the next day he woke me up, and he made me watch it again. And he said, ‘You’re going to start acting again, this is what you’re going to do,'” Joaquin shared.
“He didn’t ask me, he told me. And I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life.”
While he thanked a number of people, including his sisters Rain, Liberty and Summer, Joaquin finished his emotional speech with an apparent reference his rumoured fiancee Rooney Mara, who starred in 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
“One last thing – somewhere here, I don’t know where, is a filthy dragon, and I want to rip its wings off and fasten a blanket and sleep with it forever. I love you. Thank you,” he said.
Following the premiere of Joker at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, Joaquin and filmmaker Todd took part in a Q&A panel, where the 44-year-old discussed playing the disturbed Arthur Fleck, who eventually becomes the legendary DC Comics villain.
“I mean honestly, it wasn’t an easy decision at first. But then there was something that was drawing me toward it… It started becoming something more than I anticipated. It was one of the greatest experiences of my career,” he shared.
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