Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

bananas

Joaquin Phoenix Is a ‘Pet Monkey’ in The Master

Joaquin Phoenix is back in the spotlight thanks to The Master, which means we're in for a magical deluge of Joaquin Phoenix–says-the-darndest-things interviews. Things kicked off with an interview in the Times, and now Time brings us this gem:

You told the New York Times that Paul showed you a video of a monkey falling asleep and said, "That's you." But what does it mean to be the monkey?
Paul called me Bubbles on the set. Bubbles was Michael Jackson’s pet monkey, and I was Paul’s pet monkey. The key to Freddie is an animal, just pure id. For the scene where he’s arrested and put in jail and all that, I just watched videos of wild animals that get into suburbia. If you’ve seen video of a deer or a bear that finds its way into suburbia and the cops have to tranquilize it, it seems as if the brain stops working. If they’re cornered, they’ll slam into walls, or one leg tries to go left while the other is going right. It’s complete fear and chaos. They can’t control themselves at all. That was the key to Freddie. And Paul certainly called me his pet monkey.

What monkey video are we talking about? This is essential. Is it … this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

But Bubbles wasn't a monkey — Bubbles was a chimp. (Chimps are apes! Apes have arms that are longer than their legs and they don't have tails.) So could it be this informational video?

We must get to the bottom of this primate mystery.

Photo: The Weinstein Company