While the two never discussed at length what Freddie should look like, it quickly became clear to Anderson that Phoenix was losing a significant amount of weight to play this alcoholic fresh from the war. Phoenix also maintained an awkward gait, where he pulled his pelvis back, sucked in his stomach and placed his hands on his waist — a walk Anderson loved but never questioned.
“It’s like when you are playing make-believe with your kids and you are so tempted to ask them what they are thinking or why they are doing something but the last thing you want to do is break the spell,” said Anderson, who realized in the editing room that Phoenix was perhaps holding onto his kidneys because they hurt from either a war injury or from all the booze. “You just sort of hope they will keep doing it and they won’t stop. Whatever he was doing, it felt so right and looked so good, the last thing I wanted to do was stop and break the spell of make-believe and ask questions of why.”
Directing, this is how you do it.