Joaquin Phoenix thanked his late brother River for giving him a push to get back into acting.
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 (September 9, 2019) for his role in Todd Phillips’ DC Films origin drama, Joker.
And he told the star-studded audience that his success was all thanks to his older brother, who tragically died 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.”
The movie received an eight-minute standing ovation following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy, but during a Q&A panel on Monday, the 44-year-old revealed committing to playing the disturbed DC Comics villain “wasn’t easy”.
“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.