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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 09:14 GMT
Actor's tribute to Cash jail show
Shooter Jennings and Joaquin Phoenix
Phoenix (right) performed with co-star Shooter Jennings at the prison
Joaquin Phoenix, tipped for an Oscar for his portrayal of musician Johnny Cash, has followed Cash by performing at Folsom State Prison in California.

More than 50 prisoners watched a screening of Walk the Line, in which Phoenix plays the late country star.

Phoenix then played several songs at the prison's Greystone Chapel, including Cash's Folsom Prison Blues.

Referring to absent co-star Reese Witherspoon, Phoenix said: "I know you guys would probably rather see Reese."

Hit live album

Cash famously played in the prison yard in January 1968, a performance which became a hit live album.

Dressed in Cash's trademark black, Phoenix apologised for his "rusty" performance on Tuesday, saying he had not played since the movie's completion.

"I don't know if you've noticed, but I've messed up like 40 times," he said. "I'm all over the place."

One inmate asked Phoenix whether he had learned to play guitar for the movie.

"John wasn't (Jimi) Hendrix," Phoenix replied. "It was real simple... we rehearsed a lot."

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line
Witherspoon (right) plays Cash's wife June Carter Cash
He was joined by musician Shooter Jennings, who plays his father Waylon Jennings in the movie.

After the screening inmate Gary Lopez, who has been incarcerated 11 years for attempted murder, said: "I've always been a fan of Johnny Cash."

The 61-year-old inmate added: "I grew up in the country picking cotton... all we had was a radio. All we listened to was country music. All through the movie I had a lump in my throat."

The event was organised by Prison Fellowship, a group that runs Bible studies and other educational programs in prisons.

Fellowship spokesman Joe Avila said the movie's message would be good for inmates because Cash's "whole life was a message of redemption".

US film magazine Premiere has predicted that Walk The Line would receive Oscar nominations for stars Phoenix and Witherspoon, for best picture and director James Mangold.

The nominations for the 2006 Academy Awards will be announced on 31 January.

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