The musician still doesn't know why she got cast.
Following Joanna Newsom's feature film debut with Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice', we settled down with her and co-star Jena Malone to discuss her latest career move and Joaquin Phoenix's just-roll-with-it aesthetic.
Joanna Newsom stars as Sortilège in 'Inherent Vice'
It's nerve-racking for anyone to launch headfirst into a career they've never really approached before, but between actors and musicians it's a crossover not uncommon. Joined by first-timer Joanna Newsom and Jena Malone, we explored not only what working going from singer to film actor was like, but also working in the shadow of living legend - but total sweetie - Joaquin Phoenix.
'I was scared that my lack of experience and my untested ability as an actor would, potentially, not only not rise to meet him, but would actually drag him down, distract him, pull him out of the action', Joanna admitted, but added that it wasn't long before she started feeling a little more comfortable with her understanding co-workers giving her a warm welcome. 'I said, 'I don't know what I'm doing.' And he's like, 'None of us knows what we're doing. Every time I go on set I feel like it's the first time.' And I do believe that', she revealed. Jena also had a few words of praise for the Oscar nominee, describing him as 'a very generous, joyful, humorous, giving person'. 'He is really inviting all of the actors in, to come and play on the same level', she says.
More: Read the full interview
As a harpist and singer more than an actor, who incidentally has released three excellent albums in the course of her career, she had a lot to learn for playing omnipresent narrator Sortilège in the crime comedy, but it wasn't always unfamiliar territory. 'I think for the voiceover work, there was a little more crossover because there was certainly a strong musical component to that-not only for me, but I think for Paul', she says in hindsight, but for the most part, she confesses to feeling like a 'complete novice' and to this day has no idea how she got cast in the movie. 'I wish I had asked, but I didn't, and he never really gave me any indication', she says. 'He said at one point that he liked my voice. So, maybe it's that. I don't know.'
Joanna's previous acting experience only extends to playing a harpist in an episode of 'Portlandia', appearing in MGMT's 'Kids' music video and providing her voice for the English dubbing of Japanese animation 'The Sky Crawlers'. 'Inherent Vice' hit movie theaters in January 2015.
Joanna Newsom makes her film debut in 'Inherent Vice'