Joaquin Phoenix teams up with Todd Haynes for ‘audacious’ gay period drama: ‘Power coupling’

Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Haynes

Joker star Joaquin Phoenix is set to take on his first LGBTQ+ role in a period gay romance directed by Todd Haynes.

Hot on the heels of the release of his latest horror-comedy, Beau is Afraid, and wrapping filming on the highly anticipated Joker sequel Folie à Deux, academy-award-winning star Joaquin Phoenix is now preparing for a very different role.

While attending the Cannes Film Festival, where his current queer drama May December premiered to an eight-minute standing ovation, acclaimed gay director Todd Haynes revealed to Les Inrockuptibles that Phoenix had come to him with an “exciting” proposition for a new film.

“There’s another movie I want to do in early 2024,” he revealed. “It’s a project that Joaquin Phoenix brought to me, and it’s set in the 1930s: a love story between two men, based on an original, very audacious scenario. 

“This is, I believe, his first gay role. I am very excited about this project.”

This may be Phoenix’s first explicitly LGBTQ+ role, but he certainly hasn’t been resistant to them in the past.

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In 2018, Brokeback Mountain writer and producer Diana Ossana told The Hollywood Reporter that they would have been thrilled to have cast Phoenix in the classic gay Western, but scheduling conflicts with Walk the Line, in which he starred as the legendary musician Johnny Cash, put paid to the idea.

“I would have done that movie in a second,” Phoenix told THR. “I was desperate to do it. I feel so honoured that people would think that I was worthy enough to be in it, but it was never offered to me.”

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Phoenix’s fiancée Rooney Mara, who stars alongside him in upcoming drama The Island, acted opposite Cate Blanchett in Haynes’ Oscar-nominated film Carol, a lesbian love story set in the 1950s.

While there are currently no other details about the plot of Haynes’ new film or who will play Phoenix’s lover, fans already have plenty of thoughts about the news.

Some are joking that this will kick-start the Carol cinematic universe of gay love stories.

Others are taking the opportunity to highlight Phoenix’s standout role as Commodus in the 2000 film Gladiator.

However, some fans are divided about Phoenix’s casting, which would see another straight actor taking on an LGBTQ+ role.

But mostly, people are just very excited.

Joker: Folie à Deux is due to open in October 2024.

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