Joaquin Phoenix has vowed never to joke in front of a journalist again, after one publication subsequently branded him a mad eccentric who keeps frogs on his head. The "Walk the Line" star, 31, was caught fiddling with his locks by a curious reporter and invented a quirky explanation. But he now rues his prank after the deadpan humor was lost in the subsequent article. He says, "I had a fly in my hair. I was brushing it away. Someone asked me what was wrong and I said something like, ‘I have a frog on my head,’ joking. Then I read that I said I had a frog in my hair. What am I supposed to do?"
Unfortunately for Joaquin, that was Michael Cidoni, an AP reporter, and this was the weird exchange (or "joke") out on the wires:
Added Phoenix, "I didn’t make a decision and say, ‘I’m gonna sing.’ It was, in some sense, ‘Let’s see what’s gonna happen. Let’s try this, let’s work on this, and we’ll see how it goes.’"
Out of the blue, Phoenix suddenly changed the subject, asking, "Do I have a large frog in my hair?"
Reporter: No, no.
Phoenix: "Something’s crawling out of my scalp."
Reporter: No, you look great.
Phoenix: "No, but I feel it. I’m not worried about the looks. I’m worried about the sensation of my brain being eaten. … What did you ask me?"
Beside cooties, other subjects they discuss include a vintage photograph of Los Angeles traffic that’s hanging on the hotel wall, whether his nickname is really Kitten (it’s not — that was a joke he made years ago that keeps getting reprinted), whether he does in fact pay friends to scream his name at events (another joke he wishes he hadn’t made)…
Oh, Joaquin, far too fragile and odd for the vigors of the publicity circuit. Interestingly, "Walk the Line," which had developed very positive buzz at the festivals, is coming down to some mixed reviews at this midweek moment.
Elsewhere, Karl Heitmueller at MTV revisits the actual Johnny Cash‘s less-than-epic acting legacy, which included stints on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (where he met "Walk the Line" director James Mangold) "Renegade" (with Lorenzo Lamas!).