In an upcoming film, “Mary Magdalene”, Joaquin Phoenix is playing the part of Jesus. He was willing to do many things for this role, including growing out his hair. However, he did have issue with one of the miracles recorded in the gospels that he was expected to perform while filming.
Joaquin Phoenix Refused to Do This Scene While Playing Jesus
In the film, Phoenix was supposed to perform a miracle during one of the early scenes. The miracle involved Jesus healing a blind man by rubbing mud into his eyes. That particular role is being played by a woman in this film.
Phoenix said in an interview with CNN, “I knew about that scene from the Bible, but I guess I had never really considered it. When I got there, I thought, ‘I’m not going to rub dirt in her eyes. Who the f— would do that?’ It doesn’t make any sense. That is a horrible introduction to seeing.”
What Joaquin Chose to Do Instead
Since Phoenix refused to smear dirt into his co-actor’s eyes, he instead decided to lick his thumb and gently rubbed the woman’s eyes with it. He argues that this still accomplishes the meaning without there needing to be mud involved.
He said, “It freed me up, in some ways, to discover what is truthful in the moment. That moment is not so much about a real miracle. It’s about someone who has been dismissed by society finally being seen, embraced and encouraged to join the broader community.”
“To me, that is a miracle”, he continued. “There’s something profoundly beautiful about that sentiment.”
Why mud, anyway? It isn’t fully explained in the Bible why mud was used, but experts say it was a widely accepted practice among first-century healers.
A Film with a More Feminine Perspective
“Mary Magdalene” was originally slated to be released in late 2017, but it was pushed back after the producer, Harvey Weinstein, was accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault. It is now set for release on Good Friday, and offers a more feminine perspective on the story of Jesus.
Mary Magdalene’s role is being played by Phoenix’s real life girlfriend.