Sister act, too

You know about River and Joaquin already. 'If you ask me about my family....' warns Summer Phoenix

Summer Phoenix has played a heroin addict, a doomed 18th-century actress, and a quasi-fascist sado-masochist. The 23-year-old's recebt roles, then, suggest an empathy with life's darker side. The real Summer Phoenix, dressed in black sweater and red cords, grins. 'If you write that, I'm gonna kill you! I'm not dark! I can do jovial. Dinner Rush is light, right?' The film in question is her latest screen apperance, n wich she plays a sardonic waitress-cum-tortured artist alongside Sandra Bernhard. Summer Phoenix is, of course , one of those Phoenixes. 'I go into interviews like, "If you're going to ask about my family, I'm going to answer in a way I deem fit" I don't owe anybody anything.' After an early kiddie career (Murder She Wrote, age six), Phoenix spent her mid-teens in Costa Rica, then returned for several minor roles (The Faculty), ad campaigns and pop promo (The Catherine Wheel and Spacehog). I've been plugging away for years, but the misconception is "Ooooh, overnight success!" Success means an eerily masochistic turn in The Believer, the title role in period tragedy Esther Khan, Samantha the posh Texan junkie in MTV movie Wasted, and her own glam private life - co-habitant and Ocean's Eleven star Casey Affleck is 'perfect, so amazing, just fucking wonderfull!'. So, life doesn't sound too dark, then? 'Exactly! I have experiences that are fun and light and happy, so as an actor I think I can do that.' Summer Phoenix pauses, then qualifies, 'I know I can do that.' Kevin Maher.

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