Todd Haynes teases details of ‘explicit’ Joaquin Phoenix gay period drama

Joaquin Phoenix at the Baftas

Todd Haynes had fans foaming at the mouth when he first announced plans to make a gay period drama starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Now, the director is teasing further details of this hotly anticipated film – and has warned eager fans that it’s going to get a little bit spicy.

Speaking to Variety at the Deauville American Film Festival, Haynes said of the film: “It’s a love story between two men set in the 30s that has explicit sexual content that or at least it challenges you with the sexual relationship between these two men.

“One is a Native American character and one is a corrupt cop in LA. It’s set in the 30s. They have to flee L.A. ultimately and go to Mexico. But it’s a love story and with a strong sexual component.”

Joaquin Phoenix to star in gay film from the 1930s.
Joaquin Phoenix to star in gay film from the 1930s. (Getty Images)

Haynes added that it was Joker star Joaquin Phoenix who originally brought the idea to his attention.

“It all started with Joaquin having some ideas and some thoughts and just questions and images. And he came to me and said, ‘Does this connect to you at all?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, this is really interesting.’ And so we would just be on the phone talking and it developed into a script,” he said.

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Haynes also pointed out that it was Phoenix, presumably playing the role of the corrupt cop, who was “pushing it further into more dangerous territory, sexually.”

This isn’t the first time that Haynes has touched on how far he plans to go with this film.

Speaking in an Interview with IndieWire at Cannes Film Festival, the director revealed that the film will be rated NC-17.

On laying out the adult content in the film, he recalled: “Joaquin was pushing me further and going ‘no, let’s go further.’”

Those dying to feast their eyes on the project will have to wait a little while, though, as there are no plans to get it out until at least 2024.

For one thing, Haynes hasn’t cast his Native American character yet. 

“We’ve got to find him,” he told Variety. “It’s probably going to be a discovery.”

And on top of that, the SAG-AFRTA strike could delay Joaquin Phoenix’s work schedule for quite some time.

“We hope we’ll be shooting by early summer [of 2024]” said Haynes.

“It’s a little tricky because of the strike and projects of Joaquin’s that have gotten stopped.”

Still, fans are certain that the wait will be worth it.