Hot off his tour-de-force turn in Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is set to star in an untitled drama from acclaimed indie filmmaker writer-director Mike Mills that is poised to land at A24, Collider has confirmed.
Plot details remain under wraps, and production is slated to this fall, which means it will be the first film Phoenix shoots after Joker, the gritty DC movie from Todd Phillips that has been winning raves from festival critics, and earned its lead the Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Former Annapurna executive Chelsea Barnard is producing alongside Lila Yacoub and Andrea Longacre-White, who served as an associate producer on Mills’ most recent film, 20th Century Women starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup.
I’m a fan of all three of Mills’ films, including his feature debut Thumbsucker and his follow-up Beginners, which won Christopher Plummer his Oscar, but I can’t say I truly love any of them. They’re all solid. He’s a solid filmmaker. But I think this pairing with Phoenix, who has the world at his feet on the heels of Joker, is his best opportunity yet to really hit a home run, and I say that without even knowing what the premise is. Because it almost doesn’t matter. Phoenix and a pending deal to reunite with 20th Century Women distributor A24 is one hell of a start.
Phoenix is said deliver a tour-de-force performance in Joker, which hits theaters on Oct. 4, and is slated to take in nearly $90 million its opening weekend. The actor is a three-time Oscar nominee thanks to his turns in Gladiator, Walk the Line and The Master, though it’s funny, those aren’t the movies I think of when I think of Joaquin Phoenix. Nope, I’m not even talking about You Were Never Really Here or Inherent Vice or his work with James Gray. No, when I think of Joaquin, I think of his early work in To Die For and Parenthood and Signs, as well as The Sisters Brothers and his wonderful turn in Spike Jonze’s four-star classic Her. I’d also go out on a limb and recommend the underrated drama Reservation Road, if you haven’t seen that film, which pairs him with the similarly-gifted Mark Ruffalo.
The point is, Phoenix is one of the most talented actors on the planet, and his casting is a major coup for Mills’ movie, especially at this point in his career. Mills is no slouch himself, coming off an Oscar nomination for writing 20th Century Women. He’s represented by UTA, while Phoenix is repped by WME. The news was first reported by Deadline.