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You’d think director James Gray would be extremely wary of teaming up with Joaquin Phoenix again, given what happened with their last outing together, 2009′s Two Lovers. As you might remember (who could forget?), the publicity campaign for that small indie drama wound up being overshadowed and, many felt, completely sabotaged by the bizarre spectacle of Phoenix’s apparent public meltdown and much-ridiculed reinvention as a bearded, mumbling, stumbling wannabe rapper. At the time of Two Lovers‘ release, Gray insisted to EW that he was as baffled as everyone else by Phoenix’s talk of quitting acting and rebooting his career as a hip-hop artist: ”I hope he’s not serious. I think he might be,” he said. ”I’m hoping that his batteries get recharged and he gets the desire to act again. Sean Penn has announced he’s retiring about 30,000 times. So who knows?” When it all turned out to be a big hoax, culminating in last year’s pseudo-documentary I’m Still Here, you’d have assumed Gray would be the last one to find the whole thing amusing. Indeed, there were rumors that the two, who had earlier worked together on the films The Yards and We Own the Night, had a falling out in the wake of Two Lovers.
Yet, after all that, Gray is now preparing to embark on his fourth film with Phoenix, a gritty drama called Low Life. READ FULL STORY »