Before They Were Stars: Joaquin (Don’t Call Me Leaf) Phoenix in “Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia”

Since Joaquin Phoenix has become the centre of such controversy lately by making the world think he’s had a complete mental breakdown, I say we should to harken back to a much more innocent time for him. In case you didn’t know, Joaquin Phoenix was born into a family where he had four siblings named River, Rain, Summer and Liberty. I guess he felt that “Joaquin” seemed like too generic a name for that family, so he changed his name to “Leaf Phoenix” during his childhood, and only went back to being called “Joaquin” when his acting career started to get serious. In 1984, at the age of 10, he appeared in a cheesy ABC Afterschool Special called Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia. His late sibling, River Phoenix, played the role of a kid with severe dyslexia problems and Joaquin portrayed his younger brother. In this very intense scene, River and Joaquin share a moment of revelation involving a cereal called “Wheat Flakes With Raisins”, which sounds suspiciously like this other cereal I like to eat.

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