Every Time Joaquin Phoenix Played a Real Person, Ranked


Joaquin Phoenix is an actor known for his unparalleled commitment to his craft and his ability to truly embody the characters he portrays on-screen. Throughout his career, Phoenix has taken on the challenge of playing real-life individuals on-screen, showcasing his versatility and dynamic range as an actor. From musicians to historical and biblical characters, Phoenix’s portrayals have captivated audiences and earned him critical acclaim for embodying some of these incredibly complex real-life individuals.


An honorable mention must go to Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck, the disturbed protagonist in the 2019 film Joker. While the Joker is not a real-life person, Phoenix’s mesmerizing performance deserves recognition for how realistic it is. He brings a haunting and unsettling quality to the infamous villain, delving into the depths of Fleck’s troubled mind and capturing his transformation into the iconic Clown Prince of Crime. The intensity, nuance, and commitment he brings to the role are nothing short of extraordinary, solidifying his place in the pantheon of actors who have portrayed this complex character.

Phoenix’s interpretation of the Joker stands as a testament to his exceptional talent and ability to breathe new life into this legendary cinematic role. In fact, his performance is reportedly what got him cast as Napoleon, an actual real-life character, in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon. With that out of the way, let’s discuss each of the real-life roles Phoenix has brilliantly portrayed.


5 Jesus Christ — Mary Magdalene (2018)

Mary Magdalene

Release Date
March 15, 2018

Director
Garth Davis

Cast
Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ariane Labed, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Charles Babalola

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Mary Magdalene is a biblical drama set in Judea during 33 AD. The story follows Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman from the village of Magdala, who rejects the traditional role assigned to women and seeks freedom. After encountering Jesus, a healer preaching about a peaceful and loving kingdom, Mary becomes one of his followers, much to the disapproval of her family and the male disciples. As Jesus’ message gains momentum, Mary’s presence creates tension within the group, particularly with Peter (Chiewetel Ejiofor). The 2018 film explores Mary’s unwavering devotion to Jesus and the eventual pivotal role she plays in his crucifixion and resurrection.

Phoenix’s portrayal of Jesus Christ in Mary Magdalene was widely acclaimed for its depth and complexity. He brought a captivating intensity and quiet charisma to the role, capturing the essence of Jesus as a compassionate and enigmatic figure. His performance was marked by subtle gestures, profound expressions, and a soothing voice that exuded both wisdom and vulnerability. Through his nuanced portrayal, Phoenix humanized Jesus, making him relatable and emotionally resonant for the audience. Stream on AMC+

Joaquin Phoenix in Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
Amazon Studios

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a biopic comedy-drama based on the true life story of cartoonist John Callahan. After a life-altering accident leaves him paralyzed, Callahan, a heavy drinker, reluctantly goes to rehab for alcoholism. There, he discovers his talent for drawing and begins creating edgy and irreverent newspaper cartoons. As his artwork gains popularity and a devoted following, Callahan finds a newfound purpose and a fresh outlook on life. The film explores themes of redemption, becoming a better person, and the power of art, as Callahan embraces his creativity to navigate his way forward.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot further shows Phoenix’s versatility, especially when you consider he also played Jesus in the same year. His performance demonstrated his ability to navigate complex characters with empathy and authenticity. Vastly underrated, it is a notch in Phoenix’s belt of nailing real-life portrayals of extremely nuanced individuals who led remarkable lives. Stream on Prime Video

3 Napoleon Bonaparte — Napoleon (2023)

Napoleon

Napoleon

Release Date
November 22, 2023

Director
Ridley Scott

Cast
Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Ludivine Sagnier, Ben Miles, Tahar Rahim

Rating
R

Main Genre
Biography

Read Our Review

Napoleon is a historical drama biopic that follows the life and rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of history’s most influential figures. The story explores Napoleon’s early military career, his meteoric rise as a military and political leader in France, and his eventual downfall. From his victories on the battlefield to his complex relationships with allies and adversaries, Napoleon offers a captivating portrayal of a man who reshaped Europe and left a lasting impact on the world.

Phoenix steps into the shoes of the iconic French emperor, capturing the ambition, complexity, and brilliance of Napoleon Bonaparte with unparalleled depth and authenticity. His portrayal showcases his ability to seamlessly blend into historical characters, bringing them to life with captivating nuance. From the moment he appears on-screen, he effortlessly embodies the conflicted nature of Napoleon, effortlessly navigating the character’s ambitions, vulnerabilities, and hubris. Watch now in theaters

Related: Napoleon: Why Has the Film Received Mixed Reviews?

2 Commodus — Gladiator (2000)

Gladiator

Gladiator

Release Date
May 1, 2000

Director
Ridley Scott

Cast
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi

Rating
R

Main Genre
Action

The second Ridley Scott/Joaquin Phoenix collaboration on the list earns the number two spot. Gladiator is an epic historical drama set in ancient Rome. The film follows Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe), a loyal and skilled general, who is betrayed by the corrupt Emperor Commodus. After his family is brutally murdered, Maximus is captured and forced to become a gladiator.

As he rises through the ranks of the Roman arenas, Maximus seizes the opportunity to seek revenge against Commodus and reclaim his honor. Filled with intense action sequences, political intrigue, and themes of revenge and redemption, Gladiator immerses viewers in the brutal world of ancient Rome as Maximus becomes a symbol of hope and defiance against oppression.

As Commodus, the treacherous Roman Emperor, Phoenix brings a complexity and intensity to the character that is both menacing and compelling. He brilliantly captures the inner turmoil and unhinged nature of Commodus, portraying a deeply flawed and power-hungry ruler with remarkable nuance. Phoenix’s ability to convey a range of emotions, from simmering rage to vulnerability, makes his performance unforgettable. He shares a palpable on-screen chemistry with Crowe, adding depth to their dynamic and fueling the film’s dramatic tension. Stream on Netflix and Paramount+

1 Walk the Line (2005)

Walk The Line

Walk The Line

Release Date
September 13, 2005

Director
James Mangold

Cast
Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Dallas Roberts, Dan John Miller

Rating
PG-13

Main Genre
Biography

Walk the Line is a biographical drama that tells the story of legendary musician Johnny Cash. The movie follows Cash’s journey from his humble beginnings in Arkansas to his rise to fame as a country music superstar. It delves into the transformative experiences that shaped Cash’s music, including his struggles with addiction, love, and faith.

The film also explores his relationship with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon), the woman who would become his wife and musical collaborator. With powerful performances and a compelling soundtrack, Walk the Line showcases the ups and downs of Cash’s life and his enduring legacy in the world of music.

Portraying the legendary musician Johnny Cash, Phoenix fully immerses himself in the role, capturing Cash’s unique voice, mannerisms, and emotional depth. His transformative portrayal showcases not only his acting prowess, but also his musical talent as he convincingly performs Cash’s iconic songs. Through Phoenix’s raw and authentic performance — complemented, of course, by Witherspoon’s Oscar-winning turn as June — Walk the Line not only pays homage to the music icon, but also leaves an indelible mark as one of the greatest portrayals of a real-life musician on the silver screen.



Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL WKWL