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Joaquin Phoenix’s Upcoming Explicit Queer Period Romance Will Be NC-17

Joaquin Phoenix’s Upcoming Explicit Queer Period Romance Will Be NC-17

Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Haynes
Toni Anne Barson/WireImage; Shutterstock

Director Todd Haynes says the actor is pushing the film to ‘go further’ and lean into the controversial rating.


Joaquin Phoenix isn’t only ready to star in a gay film, but the longtime ally is pushing director Todd Haynes to not hold back, even if that means leaving an R rating in the rearview mirror.

Haynes spilled some seriously spicy tea about his next film during a Q&A with Indie Wire at Cannes. The as-of-yet untitled project is being described as “a gay love story set in 1930s L.A.,” which he is developing with Phoenix.

If there’s anything Haynes knows how to do, it’s how to make an instantly iconic queer period film, having previously been in the director’s chair for such classics as 1998’s Velvet Goldmine, 2002’s Far From Heaven, and, of course, 2015’s beloved lesbian romance Carol.

Haynes is returning to telling a tale of LGBTQ+ romance in this new offering with Phoenix, who helped kick this new original love story off. “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 shared. “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.”

Never one to hold back in his performances, Haynes said that the actor is pushing the director to go “further” and that “this will be an NC-17 film.”

While the anticipation for Haynes’ next project is officially sky high, fans can look forward to the release of his latest Cannes hit, May December, in the meantime. The film reunites the director with Julianne Moore, who stars a teacher who, 20 years prior, had engaged in a romance with a young student. Natalie Portman stars as an actor who enters her life to study it for an upcoming biopic.

May December is being praised for its performances and campy sense of humor, proving yet again that Haynes knows how to give the gays what we want — including, now it seems, an explicit queer romance with Phoenix.

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