Even as he campaigns for an Oscar, Joaquin Phoenix is still making time to advocate for causes he believes in. The actor is featured in a new short film that’s focused on the critical stage of the climate crisis humanity is now facing, Rolling Stone reports.
In the short, titled Guardians of Life, Phoenix plays an emergency room doctor who attempts to revive a dying patient with the help of his colleagues — colleagues played by Rosario Dawson, Matthew Modine, and Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes. Eventually the patient’s heart stops beating, but as the doctors prepare to call the time of death, another doctor, played by Q’orianka Kilcher, with indigenous makeup under her face mask, finds a way to revive the patient.
Phoenix has been using his platform throughout awards season to call attention to a variety of causes close to his heart. In his speech at the BAFTAs, he discussed Hollywood’s persistent issues around diversity. At the Golden Globes, he highlighted how his peers could contribute to the climate crisis by taking fewer private jets.
The video was produced by Amazon Watch in partnership with Extinction Rebellion, and it made its premiere on Thursday at Mobilize Earth. In a statement released alongside the video, Phoenix said that he filmed the video to raise the alarm.
“It’s really a call to action. I did it to raise awareness about the meat and dairy industry’s effect on climate change. The fact is we are clear cutting and burning rainforests and seeing the negative effects of those actions worldwide,” Phoenix said in his statement.
The statement continues by highlighting the notion that there’s still time to ward off the climate crisis, but not without drastic action. Phoenix also said that the onus can’t be on governments or elections to change things, but rather that change has to come from individuals who understand how serious the threat posed by climate change is.
Phoenix, Dawson, and Modine may be the first famous faces in this series, but they aren’t likely to be the last. Guardians of Life is the first short in a planned 12-part series being produced by Extinction Rebellion and Mobilize Earth.
“Each will tell a story about the most pressing issues facing the human species as we move into what most scientists, politicians and the public see as the make or break decade for the survival of life on the planet,” the organizations said of the brief films, per Rolling Stone.