Features

Phoenix’s rap still rising strong

Joaquin Phoenix is telling anyone who will listen: He’s done with movies and just wants to concentrate on his career as a rapper.

People are certainly willing to listen, if not actually believe. Phoenix’s proclamation has, in fact, overshadowed the launch of his new – and presumably last – film, “Two Lovers” (costarring Gwyneth Paltrow), which premieres today.

While doing publicity for the film, Phoenix was followed by a documentary film crew under the direction of actor (and Phoenix’s brother-in-law) Casey Affleck, who is chronicling Phoenix’s career transformation.

“I didn’t think it would get this attention,” Phoenix told reporters. “I didn’t think anybody would care.”

Right. Whatever the attention, though, “Two Lovers” writer-director James Gray wasn’t complaining.

“I have no idea if it helps or hurts,” Gray said, “but my instinct is it’s pretty good for the film. It’s a small movie, and it wouldn’t have gotten a lot of press otherwise.”

As for Phoenix, he’s just hot about his newest obsession, talking about his musical process.

“Initially when we went in the studio, there was an explosion. I just banged out nine tracks,” he said.

And what is behind this career change?

“You don’t have to really decide on a flavor or what I’m going to do with it. It’s truly a process, and that’s what amazing about it,” Phoenix said. “There’s not a discernible finish line. There’s not necessarily a theme.”

We’re just not that into her

Jennifer Aniston’s old “Friends” cast-mate Courteney Cox helped celebrate her gal-pal’s 40th birthday on Wednesday by wishing her “more health and happiness.” People magazine says the women had a birthday party Saturday at Aniston’s new Beverly Hills house.

No love but true … love?

Singer-actress Mandy Moore, 24, and rock singer Ryan Adams, 34, are engaged. Moore’s publicist Jillian Fowkes confirmed the on Wednesday. Happy news, for sure, though not for everyone. The New York Post repeats what it reported when the two broke up last year, that “Adams was not always nice to Moore and often belittled her.” The world waits.

Beware the man named Love

Love is just a name when it comes to actor-comedian Faizon Love, who was booked on Monday with felony assault for allegedly punching a man outside a West Hollywood hotel. Prosecutors say Love was involved in a verbal altercation on Jan. 7 that turned violent.

Quotable quote

“In my opinion if creative people want to comment on a film, and if I were a director and felt that way, I would make another film and prove my point and say this is what India is about.” That’s “Slumdog Millionaire” composer A.R. Rahman, responding to criticism that the film depicts a negative image of India.

The birthday bunch

Actress Kim Novak is 76. Actor George Segal is 75. Singer-bassist-actor Peter Tork of The Monkees is 67. Actress Carol Lynley is 67. Actress Stockard Channing is 65. Talk show host Jerry Springer is 65. Singer Peter Gabriel is 59. Singer Henry Rollins is 48. Actor Neal McDonough is 43. Actress Kelly Hu is 41. Actress Mena Suvari is 30.



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