Joaquin Phoenix is known for his intense and immersive roles, from his Oscar-winning performance as Joker to his upcoming horror film with Ari Aster, Beau Is Afraid. But his next project might be his most daring yet: a gay period romance with acclaimed director Todd Haynes that will be rated NC-17.
Haynes, who has helmed queer classics like Carol, Far From Heaven, Poison, and Velvet Goldmine, revealed some details about the film in an interview with IndieWire at the Cannes Film Festival, where he premiered his latest drama May December, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore.
“The next film is a feature that’s an original script that I developed with Joaquin Phoenix based on some thoughts and ideas he brought to me,” Haynes said. “We basically wrote with him as a story writer. Me and Jon Raymond and Joaquin share the story credit. And we hope to be shooting it beginning early next year. It’s a gay love story set in 1930s L.A.”
Haynes added that Phoenix was the driving force behind the film’s explicit and authentic portrayal of gay sexuality. “Joaquin was pushing me further and going ‘no, let’s go further,’” he said. “This will be an NC-17 film.”
An NC-17 rating means that the film will contain content that is unsuitable for anyone under 17 years old, and that some theaters may refuse to screen it. It is a rare and risky move for a mainstream film, especially one with a star like Phoenix attached. But Haynes is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of cinema and challenging audiences with his visionary style.
Haynes also has more projects in the works, including an HBO series with Kate Winslet that she brought to him. “All I can do is just keep hunkering down and committing to each project,” he said. “I have more features planned. I have also episodic projects coming that are planned, that are really exciting.”
Phoenix and Haynes are both masters of their craft, and their collaboration promises to be a groundbreaking and unforgettable cinematic experience. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.