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TV Trends: If Joaquin Phoenix Can Get Engaged 'For A Joke', Can We Believe What He Says About 'Her'?

12/12/2014 11:24 GMT | Updated 12/12/2014 11:59 GMT

This week saw Joaquin Phoenix 'engaged' to his yoga teacher - briefly, before the capricious star swiftly announced his disengagement, less than 12 hours later.

The 'Gladiator' star told David Letterman of his excitement at proposing to his yoga teacher after some particularly bendy poses, but was back on the television sofa the morning after, telling 'Good Morning America' it was all a hilarious joke.

"I think like my life’s so boring, and it seemed like something exciting to talk about, and I wanted the audience to like me," he said. "They really like people getting married."

He added, "I can get engaged again, if you like."

This isn't the first time the talented but whimsical actor has played with his fans' expectations.

Back in 2010, his friend Casey Affleck followed Joaquin around with a camera, filming him semi-articulate on chat shows, heavily bearded, training to be a rapper and apparently “retired” from the film business he’d been in since childhood.

“I wasn’t playing a joke on the world,” says Joaquin now, when asked exactly what was going on during that period in his life, which turned out to be the basis of a film project, 'I'm Still Here'.

joaquin phoenix

Nobody quite knew what Joaquin Phoenix was up to while he was filming 'I'm Still Here'

“I knew that I didn’t want to retire, that was all part of the movie. Part of the joke was because, after every movie, Casey and I both say, ‘that’s it I’m done,’ after every movie, and each time it’s a case of, ‘Don’t be an idiot, what else can you fucking do? Just be happy you’ve got a job because you’ve managed to fool people enough.’ That was the joke."

This week sees him starring in 'Her' (premiering on Sky Movies today), Spike Jonze’s romantic drama set in a near-future metropolis. Joaquin plays Theodore, bristle-moustached, broken-hearted, open to nobody except his Siri console named Samantha, whose purry tones, courtesy of Scarlett Johansson, soon lull him into a relationship.

Yes, you read that right - this man is dating his computer, with, bizarrely, all the usual perfections and pitfalls that mark any love affair, and it’s a mark of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance that we care for the outcome of this somewhat assymetric partnership.

joaquin phoenix

In 'Her', Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore - unattached and unloved

Despite his customarily committed performance, Joaquin remains pretty determined not to tell HuffPostUK whether it's an upbeat, optimistic 21st century rom-com – exploring the availability for love for people who don’t look like Zac Efron and, er, Scarlett Johansson – or whether this is the ultimate nexus of people’s inability to relate to each other in real time anymore.

“I don’t know who’s going to read this and then change their opinion based on what I say,” he starts, having a big draw on his cigarette, “but… I’m always f***ing reluctant… the cool thing about movies and this movie in particular, is what subjective experiences they can be.

"What’s interesting about this movie, I’ve heard people having different opinions, some say it’s anti-technology, some say it’s pro- and that’s when it works best, when people can take away something different.

"I try not to read interviews with other actors if I’m going to see their movie, I don’t really want their opinions or explanations, but I’ll try and satisfy you.

her

Theodore becomes involved with Samantha, heard but never seen

"I’ll just say, I think you can argue that Samantha helps Theodore reconnect with humanity, with himself and the world he’s in. He looks at the string blowing in the wind in a different way. He’s been thoroughly disconnected with the world, and I think through their relationship, he gets more connected…” he stops short. “Maybe not, whatever you want it to be."

'Her' debuts today on Sky Movies, available on the Virgin Media platform. Virgin Media provides access to up to 260+ channels including Sky Movies, Freeview Channels, Virgin Movies and Netflix. Watch the trailer below...

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