Joaquin Phoenix had just claimed his first victim of the day, or so it seemed when an angry interviewer emerged from the actor's hotel room.
"How did it go?" asked the publicist coordinating media coverage of Woody Allen's new film, "Irrational Man," in which Phoenix plays the lead role.
"How do you think it went?" snapped the interviewer, shoving his recorder and notepad into his satchel. "It's Joaquin Phoenix."
Phoenix, 40, is never easy — in person or on screen. The same reticent and enigmatic behavior that makes him look like a hostage on the red carpet renders him a natural for the messed-up, hard-to-play roles that...