Starting out as an actor can be isolating and lonely, but Joaquin Phoenix had it a little different. He started out with his entire family. “My mom got a job at NBC. And then through her boss we were introduced to an agent,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “She was the only agent who would take all five of us because my parents didn’t want us to be split up.”
When Joaquin thinks about his first moments in front of a camera, he lights up. “Instantaneous joy. The most enjoyable thing,” he told The Guardian of the experience. “For some kids, it’s the first time they crack a ball or score a goal. For me, it was this. I was eight years old, and I remember the first scene on the TV set so vividly.”
From there, the Phoenix family would take on commercials, TV shows, and after school specials. Over the years, however, Joaquin has shown himself to be a bit of anti-celebrity by calling out the industry awards and taking extended breaks from acting, but he insists that he’s never fallen out of love with acting.
In fact, it’s just the opposite. That early love for the craft is what keeps him going. “I knew that I loved it — the physical sensation; how powerful it was,” he told The Guardian. “That’s the feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.”