The story includes some commentary from director James Mangold, actor Joaquin Phoenix and self-proclaimed church lady (sort of) Reese Witherspoon. Here’s an interesting, to say the least, detail from a post-dinner encounter with the Cashes in their home, beginning with the Johnny and June singing a duet:
The song was “The Far Side Banks of Jordan,” and Phoenix says he was amazed by the “profound sense of love” he witnessed between the Cashes. “And then, moments later, he quoted to me my most sadistic dialogue from Gladiator, saying it was his favorite part of the movie.” (The line: “Your son squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. And your wife moaned like a whore when they ravaged her again and again.”)
Phoenix says the experience encapsulated the two separate forces that lived within Cash: “It really is night and day. You wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it. And he seemed to relish that dialogue as much as he relished looking into June’s eyes and singing this song.”
The key, again, seems to be the movie’s timeline. It stops precisely at the moment Cash’s faith revived so strongly. However, it does seem to downplay the tensions about faith, sex, marriage, divorce, fidelity and everything else that so shaped the courtship of June and Johnny.