Joaquin Phoenix Wiki: Everything To Know About The ‘Gladiator’ Actor

Learn more about the Gladiator and Walk the Line actor, Joaquin Phoenix. We look at his net worth and past projects such as The Master and Inherent Vice. Will he be the next actor to play the supervillain known as the Joker?

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Joaquin Phoenix Wiki: Net Worth and Everything To Know About The ‘Gladiator’ Actor

Joaquin Phoenix was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom on October 28, 1974, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was born to Arlyn Dunetz and John Bottom, who were serving as Children of God missionaries. He was the middle child of five siblings, which included his late brother and fellow actor, River Phoenix. His family moved often, traveling through Central and South America. They adopted the surname “Phoenix” to celebrate their new beginnings. They finally settled in Los Angeles, California when Joaquin Phoenix was the age of 6. It was here that Joaquin began to follow his sister Rain and brother River and started becoming an actor by the age of 8.

Joaquin’s Net Worth and His Early Roles

Joaquin Phoenix is an Amerian Actor, whose estimated net worth is between $25 to $30 million. When Joaquin Phoenix first started working as an actor he temporarily changed his name to Leaf, to match River and Rain’s earthier names. The Phoenix kids were always encouraged to explore their creative sides, and that’s what led them all into acting, with Joaquin and River being the most successful. The younger kids stuck to mostly television commercials, but Joaquin got his first real acting gig making an appearance on River’s sitcom, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Joaquin would star with his brother again in an ABC after-school special in 1984 called, “Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia.” He finally made it on his own in 1986 with the movie “Spacecamp.” The following year he starred in the cold war era film “Russkies.” Soon after the family picked up and moved again, this time to Florida. River’s character was strong enough for the move away from Hollywood, but Joaquin Phoenix wasn’t sure. Luckily, Universal soon opened a new studio in the Sun Shine State, and Joaquin landed a role in the 1989 movie, “Parenthood.” Even though his performance was well received by critics and fans alike, he decided to leave acting for a while because he did not like the roles that were available for actors his age. The movie grossed $126 million and Joaquin was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix Faces Some Dark Times With His Family

Soon after, Joaquin’s parents were in the process of getting a divorce and he decided to follow his dad to Mexico and South America. Then on October 31, 1993, Joaquin was at the Viper Room (a Los Angeles Night Club partly owned by Johnny Depp) with his brother River, when Joaquin had to make a frantic call to 911 when his brother collapsed from a drug overdose, and later died that same night. The 911 recording has been played many times on radio and television. After taking another year off from being an actor, Joaquin was just waiting for the right role to make his return to film.

Don’t Call It A Comeback for Actor Joaquin Phoenix

During this stage of his career, Joaquin Phoenix returned to his true name and no longer called himself “Leaf.” His first film back was a movie directed by Gus Van Sant, called “To Die For,” which also starred Nicole Kidman. He plays a young man who gets seduced by Kidman’s character to commit murder. The film debuted at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and was a critical and commercial success. Soon after he starred in Oliver Stone’s “U Turn,” and then “Inventing the Abbots.” Both didn’t meet the same success as “To Die For.” The following year the actor had another box office flop in “Clay Pigeons,” and then in 1999 with “8mm.” which also starred Nicolas Cage. Both were not well received by critics.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix Finally Starts Seeing Commercial Success Leading to His Great Net Worth

Joaquin stayed busy in the year 2000, staring in three films. The first one was James Gray’s “The Yard.” The movie follows the corruption in the rail yards of Queens. Unfortunately, the film was another commercial and critical flop. But, Joaquin would finally strike gold when he took on the role of Commodus in the movie, “Gladiator.” In “Gladiator,” Commodus murders his father to take the throne of the Roman Empire while framing the army’s lead general and the kings favorite right-hand man, Maximus, played by Russell Crowe.

Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus in Gladiator

“Gladiator” was directed by Ridley Scott and was one of the highest grossing films of the year 2000, grossing nearly $457 million worldwide. “Gladiator” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. “Gladiator” also earned Phoenix a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role and he received his first nomination for the Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor. To this day, Joaquin along with his brother River, are the only brother pair to be nominated for same Academy Award category.

The following year, Joaquin starred in the satire film, “Buffalo Soldiers,” where he played a U.S. Army soldier. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2001 but it’s wider release was delayed due to the September 11 attacks later that year. The film was re-released in 2003 to critical success but did not meet much commercial success. The film did get Joaquin nominated for a British Film Award for Best Actor.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix Begins to See the Signs

Phoenix also starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s science fiction thriller, “Signs” in 2002. The story centered on a former priest named Graham Hess (played by Mel Gibson) who begins to discover a series of crop circles on his farm. Hess slowly begins to realize that the events are a result of extraterrestrial life from space. The film grossed $408 million on a $72 million budget and received positive reviews from critics. The next year Phoenix starred as the husband of a superstar skater in “It’s All About Love,” and later voiced Kenai in the Disney animated film, “Brother Bear.” The movie would also be nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. In 2004, Phoenix teamed up with Shyamalan again, this time playing a lovestruck farmer in “The Village.” The movie received very mixed reviews, but it was a financial success by grossing $256 million worldwide off of a $60 million budget. Later that year, he starred as a Baltimore Firefighter in “Ladder 49.” The filmed earned Phoenix some high praise from the late film critic, Roger Ebert, who gave him a 3.5 out of 4 stars for his performance. The very last film Phoenix did in 2004 was Terry George’s “Hotel Rwanda,” where he played photographer Jack Daglish. The film earned moderate financial success but was a hit with the critic world. The movie earned Phoenix a Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture alongside the rest of the cast.

Joaquin Phoenix Goes from Actor, to Debuting As A Singer in “Walk the Line”

Finally, in 2005, Phoenix starred as Johnny Cash in the James Mangold-directed film “Walk the Line,” a Johnny Cash biopic. Cash gave his full blessing for Phoenix to play him in “Walk the Line.” This was the first time Phoenix has ever sung for a film. All of the songs for the film and accompanying soundtrack were songs originally sung by Cash but re-recorded by Phoenix for “Walk the Line.” The film was released on November 18, 2005, and it grossed $186 million. Phoenix’s performance in “Walk the Line” earned him rave reviews. Even Roger Ebert said, that when he closed his eyes and listened to the music, he heard Johnny Cash, though he knew Phoenix was the one singing. “Walk the Line” earned Phoenix an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for Motion Picture or Musical and the Grammy for best soundtrack for “Walk the Line.” Johnny Cash himself even praised Phoenix in “Walk the Line.”

Joaquin Phoenix Fools Many for His Mockumentary

In 2007, Phoenix reunited with director James Gray for the film “We Own the Night,” which Phoenix also produced. In the film, he plays a New York nightclub manager who attempts to save his brother from Russian Mafia hitmen. The film debuted at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and it earned Phoenix the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Leading Man. His second film in 2007 reunited Phoenix with another director, Terry George, for the film “Reservation Road.” Phoenix plays a father who is obsessed with finding out who killed his son in a hit-and-run accident. This film was a critical and commercial flop. Many praised Phoenix for being one of the best actors of his generation, but even he wasn’t strong enough to save this film. Fast forward to 2010, Phoenix filmed his mockumentary, “I’m Still Here.” “I’m Still Here” premiered at the 67th Venice International Film Festival on September 6, 2010. The film “I’m Still Here,” was directed by Phoenix’s then brother-in-law, Casey Affleck and was written by both Affleck and Phoenix. “I’m Still Here” was to follow Phoenix, from the announcement or his retirement from acting, through his transition into his new career as a hip-hop artist. Filming for “I’m Still Here” began at a Las Vegas nightclub on January 19, 2009, and Phoenix remained in character throughout the filming of “I’m Still Here.” He was in character for public appearances, or whenever he would go on talk shows, giving many the impressions that he truly was pursuing a new career. The fact the entire thing had been staged and that it was a mockumentary wasn’t disclosed until after the “I’m Still Here” film’s release. “I’m Still Here,” was a film experiment that just didn’t pay off for Phoenix. While promoting his film “Two Lovers,” Phoenix made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. It was during this interview he seemed incoherent and unresponsive to David Letterman. It was here that he announced his “retirement” from acting. Phoenix returned to the show a year later on September 22, 2010, to confess that the whole thing was part of the mockumentary “I’m Still Here” that he was making with Casey Affleck and that none of it was real. Unfortunately, it was all for nothing. The film “I’m Stil Here,” opened up to mixed reviews and it was a commercial disaster. It was after “I’m Still Here” that Phoenix took a break from acting.

Phoenix Takes A Much Needed Short Break From Being an Actor

Phoenix wouldn’t return to acting until 2012 when he would star in a role for Paul Thomas Anderson’s, “The Master.” “The Master” also starred the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. In “The Master,” Phoenix played Freddie Quell, a sex-obsessed alcoholic and World War II veteran who was struggling to adjust to the post-war world. He eventually meets Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a new religious group known as “The Cause” (similar to Scientology). Quell begins to follow this group, but more specifically, Dodd himself. Before “The Master,” went into production, Jeremy Renner and James Franco were both considered for the part of Freddy Quell before Phoenix ultimately signed onto the film. The group “The Cause,” in “The Master,” was originally based on L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology in some ways. “The Master” premiered at the Venice Film Festival where Phoenix won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. The film received universal critical acclaim. “The Master” also earned Phoenix his third Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, as well as the Golden Globe and another BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actor. “The Master” almost did not happen, considering Unversial originally dropped the “The Master” before it was picked up by Annapuma Pictures. Also, “The Master” was originally supposed to follow Hoffman’s character of Lancaster Dodd, until he suggested that “The Master” would be better if it followed Phoenix’s character, Quell.

Joaquin Phoenix in “Her”

That Was Her This Is Me

In 2013 after “The Master” Phoenix would star in a highly critically acclaimed romantic comedy called, “Her,” alongside Scarlet Johannsen. The film was directed by Spike Jonze and debuted at the New York Film Festival on October 12, 2013. The movie follows Phoenix’s character, Theodore as he is going through the final stages of a painful divorce. Much of his time is spent on video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. Then one day he decides to purchase the new OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system. Theodore is quickly drawn in by Samantha (Johannsen) the voice of the OS1. As they spend more time together, they begin to be drawn closer. Samantha’s powerful intelligence is used to help Theodore in ways that others never have. They find themselves falling in love, and Theodore struggles internally with his feelings over an operating system artificial intelligence. Many critics agreed that the role of Theodore couldn’t have been done by anyone else but Phoenix and that the film was hard to imagine without him. The role earned Phoenix his fourth Golden Globe Award and the film itself was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

That same year Phoenix took on a role of a pimp in the movie, “The Immigrant,” also co-starring Marion Cotillard. It was his fourth film with director James Gray, and he plays Bruno Weiss, a pimp who prostitutes Polish Ewa (Cotillard) and ends up falling in love with her. The film was screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. Though it was not a commercial success, it received rave reviews from film critics.

“Inherent Vice” is Voted One of the 100 Best Films of the 21st Century

Phoenix reunited with director Paul Thomas Anderson to film the comedy crime drama, “Inherent Vice.” It was an adaption of the Thomas Pynchon book by the same name. “Inherent Vice” also included Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Eric Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, and comedian legend Martin Short. “Inherent Vice” follows Larry “Doc” Sportello (Phoenix) a stoner hippie and private investigator in the 1970s. He is entrapped in the criminal underworld of Los Angeles while investigating three cases that are connected by the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her wealthy boyfriend. “Inherent Vice” premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 4, 2014. “Inherent Vice” began a limited theatrical release on December 12, 2014. “Inherent Vice” was nominated for many awards, including two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe for Best Actor for Phoenix. The National Board of Review named “Inherent Vice” one of the ten best films of the year. In 2016 “Inherent Vice” was named the 75th best film since 2000 in an international critic’s poll. The role of Doc in “Inherent Vice” originally offered to Robert Downey, Jr. but was ultimately given to Phoenix because, as Downey stated, “he was much younger.” “Inherent Vice” earn $8 million in the United States and $6.6 million internationally. However, the total gross was $6 million short of earning back its original budget.

Could Joaquin Be Taking on the Villianous Joker?

Phoenix then went on to star in the comedy drama, “Irrational Man,” in 2015, a Woody Allen film. The movie was screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and received mixed to mostly positive reviews. It made its theatrical debut on July 17, 2015. Shortly after that, Phoenix did some narration work for his second documentary for Nation Earth, called “Unity,” which was about animal rights, a cause that’s very close to his heart. It was released August 12, 2015. His most recent project to hit audiences was his role as an FBI agent and Gulf War veteran who was suffering from PTSD in the Amazon Studios production “You Were Never Really Here.” It was written and directed by Lynne Ramsey and debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. It was well received by critics and Phoenix won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor.

Phoenix: His Net Worth and Some of Most Horrific Moments

Though Joaquin Phoenix has had a glorious film career, with a valued net worth between $25 to $30 million, it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. His worst moment would be when he had to witness the death of his brother, River, back in October 1993. However, it wouldn’t be his last moment of drama in his life. Phoenix would enter himself into rehab for alcoholism in April 2005. Shortly after that on January 26, 2006, Phoenix would be involved in a horrific car accident. Phoenix ran off the road and rolled his car, and the crash apparently was caused by a brake failure. It happened while he was driving down the windy canyon road in the Hollywood hills. Phoenix was pulled from the car by famed German film director, Werner Herzog. Phoenix expressed his gratitude but Herzog downplayed his heroism and returned to his home before ambulances arrived.

Phoenix and His Hollywood Love Life

Phoenix has been in many Hollywood relationships; including a relationship with his “Inventing the Abbots” co-star Liv Tyler that lasted for three years. He would then go on to date Topaz Page-Green from 2003 to 2005. He was in a short relationship with DJ Allie Teilz from 2013 to 2015 before eventually meeting his fellow actor, Rooney Mara, who he has been dating since 2016 and lives with in the Hollywood Hills today.

Phoenix the Activist

Joaquin Phoenix Net Worth, His Charity Work and Animal Rights

Though he may be at a net worth of $25 million, (in fact, his net worth may have risen to $30 million) Phoenix has been a major player in the world of social activism. He has become highly involved in organizations including Amnesty International, The Art of Elysium, HEART, and the Peace Alliance. He a member of the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides daily meals to students of township schools in Soweto, South Africa, an organization founded by ex-girlfriend, Topaz Page-Green. He is well known for his animal rights advocacy, and has been a vegan since the age of 3. He has teamed up with an animal organization to spread awareness of animal abuse and to promote veganism. He has joined both Defense of Animals and PETA and has actively campaigned for both organizations. He will not wear anything that is made from the skin or fur of an animal, and on his movie sets, he will request that anything that calls for leather has to be made out of synthetic leather. He narrated two documentaries for Nation Earth, including 2005s “Earthlings,” which investigated animal abuse in factory farms and pet mills for scientific research. Next came 2015s “Unity,” which he did with other celebrity vegans including Jessica Chastain and comedian Ellen DeGeneres. Phoenix was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Film Festival in 2005.

Phoenix’s Net Worth and The Joker

Phoenix does have some more projects in the works. He just finished filming and starring as Jesus in the biographical film “Mary Magdalene,” that was directed by Garth Davis. Mary Magdalene was the prostitute that was saved by Jesus, and whom some speculate, later married Jesus himself. “Mary Magdalene” is scheduled to be released on March 30, 2018, with earlier release dates set for the United Kingdom and Austrailia. Mary Magdalene is played by Phoenix’s real-life girlfriend, Rooney Mara. “Mary Magdalene” will also star Chiwetel Ejiofor of “12 Years A Slave” and “Doctor Strange” fame. “Mary Magdalene” has already started getting less than great reviews. “Mary Magdalene” has been called repetitive, emo, and the writing has been called drab and formal. They’ve also given mediocre reviews of Mara’s and Phoenix performances in “Mary Magdalene.” Right now, Mary Magdalene’s release in the United States is up in the air at the moment. Mary Magdalene was supposed to released by the Weinstein Company, who are currently wrapped up in controversy and court battles. He will also co-star in the adaptation of Patrick DeWitt’s historical novel, “The Sisters Brothers.” Phoenix will play cartoonist John Callahan in the biopic “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot,” which will reunite him with director Gus Van Sant. Currently, Phoenix has been a part of rumors stating they he is in line to be next actor to play the iconic DC Comic villain, the Joker, who was last played by actor Jared Leto in “Suicide Squad.” The yet to be titled Joker film would not be part of the DC Cinematic Universe in which Leto debuted his version of the Joker. As of right now, Leto is still on to play the Joker in “Suicide Squad 2.” Writer Todd Phillips has made it clear that he wants Phoenix for his film, but no negotiations have been made as of yet. This Joker movie would be its own separate entity and would allow Phillips to take a different creative approach. It has been hard to find someone who can play the iconic Joker after the late Heath Ledger blew audiences away with his amazing performance as the “Clown Prince of Crime.”

Would Joaquin Phoenix Be As Good As Heath Ledger? Or Could He Be Better?

Though Variety magazine has stated that Phoenix and Phillips have met before the beginning of the New Year and that they are just waiting for the studio for the green light, Phoenix has expressed that he has no knowledge of the Joker role. In a French publication, Allocine, when he was asked about the Joker film, Phoenix simply replied “What movie about the Joker?” It appears Phoenix is adding some mystery when it comes to the reports of him playing the DC villain. However, many feel he would be perfect to play the role. He is a method actor much like Heath Ledger was. Only time will tell if we will get to see Phoenix dress up in the iconic clown makeup and hear his version of Joker’s spine-tingling laugh. Phoenix’s net worth should not matter in this case, but the value of his talent and what he can bring to the character of the Joker definitely should. But his current estimated net worth is between $25 to $30 million. If Phoenix does take on the role of the Joker, his net worth could easily go higher. A net worth of $25 to $30 million is nothing to laugh at (pun intended) but considering how long he has been working in Hollywood, it’s surprising that his net worth isn’t higher. Maybe Phoenix will get the last laugh in the end.