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JOAQUIN PHOENIX (Kenai) brings life to this complex self-centered character who learns to see the world from a different perspective when he is transformed from a young man into a bear. 

Commenting on his role in the film, Phoenix observes, "Kenai is a very real character. He's flawed and, at times, unlikeable but I think that's something that we can all identify with because nobody's perfect. I think seeing him come to an understanding of himself and his world is a beautiful thing. Ultimately, for me, the message of ‘Brother Bear' is that when we face choices in life, if we approach them from a place of love and compassion rather than fear and hate, the results will be more positive. Kenai learns the ability to empathize with others that are not like himself. Koda teaches him that he shouldn't be making choices based on fear and hate. It's a wonderful and timely theme. 

"I really enjoyed doing the voice of Kenai,” adds Phoenix. "As an actor, I like characters that go through great transformation. To me, that's what drama is. The acting that's required for this is more emphatic and bigger. Aaron and Bob were so wonderful in helping me to find the character and his voice. I'd never experienced anything quite like it and ultimately it was a really great learning experience.” 

The Academy Award®-nominated actor has demonstrated his ability to portray a diverse range of characters, and in recent years has left indelible marks in audiences' minds playing a memorable series of roles. 

Phoenix's first role came at the age of twelve in 1986's "Space Camp.” In 1987, he starred in "Russkies” with his sister Summer and went on to play Dianne Wiest's teenage son in "Parenthood” for director Ron Howard in 1989. 

In 1995, after taking a hiatus, Joaquin gave a critically acclaimed performance opposite Nicole Kidman in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For.” He next starred in Pat O'Conner's "Inventing the Abbotts” (1997). 

Phoenix earned rave reviews for three different performances in the year 2000. First, the Dreamworks/Universal summer blockbuster "Gladiator” from director Ridley Scott. Phoenix portrayed Emperor Commodus opposite Russell Crowe's Maximus. Phoenix's work in that film earned him awards from the National Board of Review, the Broadcast film Critics Association and the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award, a Screen Actors Guild award, a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award®. 

In September 2000, he appeared in "Quills,” playing the young Abbe du Coulmier opposite Geoffrey Rush's Marquis de Sade. In October, Phoenix appeared in "The Yards” for director James Gray, opposite Mark Wahlberg. 

His other film credits include Oliver Stone's "U-Turn” with Claire Danes, Sean Penn and Nick Nolte; "Return to Paradise” opposite Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche; "Clay Pigeons;” Joel Schumacher's "8MM” opposite Nicolas Cage; and "It's All About Love” opposite Claire Danes. 

Most recently, Phoenix co-starred in M. Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller "Signs” for Touchstone Pictures opposite Mel Gibson and starred in the Miramax dark comedy "Buffalo Soldiers.” This winter Phoenix stars in Jay Russell's "Ladder 49” and starts production on M. Night Shyamalan's next movie "The Woods,” both for Touchstone Pictures.


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