Joaquin Phoenix to Star in Todd Haynes’ NC-17 Gay Love Story

Joaquin Phoenix is taking it up another notch after Ari Aster’s “Beau Is Afraid,” teaming up with Todd Haynes for an NC-17-rated gay romance film.

Haynes spoke to IndieWire at the Cannes Film Festival following the Saturday premiere of his romantic drama “May December,” starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. In the interview, Haynes teased an upcoming project he co-developed with Phoenix.

“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 told IndieWire. “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. It’s a gay love story set in 1930s L.A.”

Haynes added, “Joaquin was pushing me further and going, ‘No, let’s go further.’ This will be an NC-17 film.”

Phoenix is no stranger to intense roles that push past the expected limits of actors. As for Haynes, between “Carol,” “Far From Heavens,” “Poison, “Velvet Goldmine” and his latest, “May December,” the director is no stranger to the romantic period drama, nor the queer film.

“All I can do is just keep hunkering down and committing to each project,” Haynes said. “I have more features planned. I have also episodic projects coming that are planned, that are really exciting. I’m going back to work with Kate Winslet with something she brought me for HBO.”

Hayne’s latest project, “May December,” is loosely based on the American scandal of Mary Kay Letourneau. In Variety‘s review, film critic Peter Debruge wrote: “Tone is everything in movies like this, and Haynes goes out of his way to avoid the sensationalism… Withholding moral judgment as best he can, Haynes keeps things more emotional than intellectual, trusting audiences to do that unpacking on their own.”

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