Joaquin Phoenix plays little 'irritable dictator' Napoleon

Joaquin Phoenix plays little ‘irritable dictator’ Napoleon

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Phoenix added, “There’s almost something interesting about it – if it weren’t also responsible for the deaths of millions of people.”

“I had imagined him to be cool-headed and calculating as a great military strategist. What I was surprised by was his sense of humor and how childlike he was.”

Phoenix, 49, said he had waited more than 20 years to work with Scott again after the massive success of “Gladiator,” in which he played another emperor, Commodus.

But the director didn’t call until “he had a story about a short, angry dictator, and he said ‘I’ve just got that guy!'” joked Phoenix.

The ‘Joker’ star refused to fall into any cheap comparisons between his role as the warmonger emperor and the conflicts currently ravaging the world.

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