Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Saturday, 1 November 2008

Actor Joaquin Phoenix quits films

Joaquin Phoenix
Phoenix learnt the guitar for his role as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line

Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix has announced he is quitting his acting career to focus on music.

A spokeswoman for Phoenix, best known for his Oscar-nominated turn as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, confirmed his new film would be his last performance.

"He has said that Two Lovers is his last," said publicist Susan Patricola.

"But this is not strange. Joaquin has been directing music videos and been involved in music for the last number of years," she added.

The 34-year-old actor, the younger brother of the late River Phoenix, first announced his intention to quit films on the US TV show Extra earlier this week.

However, he abruptly ended the interview after the reporter questioned whether he was joking.

Phoenix came to public attention as the person who called the emergency services when his brother River collapsed from a drug overdose at a Los Angeles nightclub in October 1993.

He rose to fame in the 1995 indie film To Die For, playing an infatuated teenager who is persuaded to kill the husband of an ambitious weather girl - played by Nicole Kidman.

Subsequent films include M Night Shyamalan's The Village, Quills and Gladiator - for which he received his first Oscar nomination in 2001.

Two Lovers, a romantic drama in which Phoenix stars opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

Phoenix was unable to attend the premiere after being admitted to hospital with viral gastroenteritis.

The film received its UK debut at the London Film Festival last month. It is expected to go on general release early next year.

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