My Joaquin Phoenix interview – my lowest day as a journalist

SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 27:  Actor Joaquin Pho...
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In 2005, I interviewed Joaquin Phoenix via phone for his latest movie, Walk the Line.

I still have nightmares about the interview.

Below is an excerpt from it.

Take this as a lesson on how NOT to interview a celebrity.

ME: In Walk the Line, your brother dies from a tragic accident. In real life, your own brother River died from a tragic accident. Did you draw on that experience with losing a brother when you were making the movie?

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: Absolutely not. That’s exploitive and I wouldn’t do that for a fucking movie. There is a vast difference between your brother dying when you are seven-years-old and when you are 18.

ME: Is it frustrating seeing these TV programs rebroadcasting the calls you made to 911 on the night River died. Is that frustrating? What goes through your mind when that is brought up?

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: I realize there is nothing I can really do about it so I don’t pay much attention to it. It’s really their problem, if they want to bring that kind of thing into the world. It’s not a part of my life.

ME: What goes through your mind when you drive past the Viper Room when you are in LA now? Have you been back to the Viper Room?

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: Dude, dude. Take a hike.

ME: Alright, sorry man, I shouldn’t push it.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: It is amazing to me that I just said that and you would do that. That’s the epitome of callousness. I can’t even fathom it. Whether it’s one’s job or not…

ME: I apologize unreservedly, man. I apologize unreservedly. You’re right, it is. I totally accept that. What you just said is absolutely right and I can’t do anything but apologize enough. I’m very sorry.


As you can see, it was a train wreck.

What did I do wrong? How could I have done better?

Please send me your comments here…

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