If Joaquin Phoenix is having issues with the press, maybe he should consider directing.

Seriously. When notoriously prickly stars Sean Penn, Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson started directing films, they became far more cordial to reporters. Even noted sourpuss Tommy Lee Jones seems like he’s softened slightly in his behind-the-camera role.

At Monday’s AFI Fest 2005 screening for “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” which earned Jones best director honors this year at Cannes, Jones joked, “I’m smarter than most of the directors that I work for. And also I can read my own mind. So it’s a little bit easier.”

Sony Classics will release “Burials” in December for Oscar consideration. No wonder he’s in a (reasonably) good mood.

Posted by:LATimes