Joaquin Phoenix To Quit Acting...

Star to focus on singing career

Joaquin Phoenix has startled movie fans and the film industry alike by announcing that he is to retire from acting... to focus on singing.

Phoenix, nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for 2005's Walk the Line, and for Best Supporting Actor 2000's Gladiator, has had a long career in film, starting as a child actor on TV in the early 80's, back when he was called Leaf, and graduating to film in such fare as Disney's Space Camp in 1986.

He has always been candid about his relationship with acting, being quoted as saying "The reason I keep making movies is I hate the last thing I did. I'm trying to rectify my wrongs."

His career of late has been a rollercoaster affair. After his Best Actor nomination in 2005, Phoenix checked himself into rehab for alcohol dependency.

He wouldn't make a film until 2007, when he starred in the poorly received We Own The Night. He followed that up with Reservation Road, which received mostly negative reviews and made just $122,000 at the US box office.

His last film - if he stays true to his word and retires - will be James Gray's Two Lovers with Gwyneth Paltrow. Gray also directed Phoenix in The Yards and We Own The Night. It is released in the UK in 2009.

As far as the singing career goes, Phoenix has apparently been working on an album with The Charlatan's front man Tim Burgess, expected to be released sometime next year. He already has a Grammy award for his work on the Walk the Line soundtrack, for which he provided his own vocals.

This isn't the first time Phoenix has quit acting - he did so after the traumatic experience of his brother River's untimely death in 1993, at which time he took a one year break from the screen. If his album proves successful, it looks like this break could be much longer.

What do you think, readers - has Phoenix really quit acting? Or is this just a temporary state of affairs? Will he be missed? Let us know in the space below.