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Todd Haynes Says New Joaquin Phoenix Film Is 'Explicit' Gay Love Story

Todd Haynes Says New Joaquin Phoenix Film Is 'Explicit' Gay Love Story

Joaquin Phoenix
Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock

And he credits Phoenix with pushing the story to a "more dangerous territory."

rachelkiley

When Carol director Todd Haynes first announced his intent to tackle a queer love story set in the 1930s and starring Joaquin Phoenix for his next film, the details were very scant. But he recently shed a little more light on what to expect from the project.

“It’s a love story between two men set in the 30s that has explicit sexual content that…challenges you with the sexual relationship between these two men. One is a Native American character and one is a corrupt cop in LA,” the director told Variety at the Deauville American Film Festival this month. “They have to flee LA ultimately and go to Mexico.”

Haynes previously acknowledged that Phoenix—who has yet to play an explicitly gay role in his lengthy career—was actually the one who approached him with the idea.

He expanded on how that conversation went, noting that the Gladiator star had “some ideas and some thoughts and just questions and images” that he wanted to see if Haynes connected with. When he did, they started chatting about how the project could progress, until a script came together.

“[Phoenix] had fragments of ideas and then I started to formulate them into an actual narrative,” he said, adding that he brought collaborator John Raymond in on the process as well. “Basically it was just this wonderful, organic way to create the script. And Joaquin was pushing it further into more dangerous territory, sexually.”

Although Haynes expressed hope that filming might begin next summer, he also admitted that the timetable ultimately depends on both Phoenix’s schedule and how much longer it takes for the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in pursuit of fair compensation and protections in the streaming era to be resolved.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.