If the post-“Walk the Line” Joaquin Phoenix rated just behind the Wicked Witch of the West in terms of scariness in your household, good news. The much-talked-about Joaquin Phoenix Letterman appearance a year and a half ago was just a hoax, part of Phoenix’s elaborate performance art for the documentary (uh, make that mockumentary) “I’m Still Here,” film director Casey Affleck has admitted. Affleck, who is married to Summer Phoenix, Joaquin’s sister, confessed the hoax to the New York Times after the movie about Phoenix’s quest to become a rapper, premiered to terrible reviews earlier this month.
Kids, this means you no longer have to be scared of meeting up with a an incoherent, bearded, slurring Phoenix in a dark alleyway! Or worried that he will drop over at your house for a very awkward Letterman-type visit! Seriously, I got the creeps from this guy and I’m a grown-up. I wonder how he will explain this strange period to his future kids years down the line?
Phoenix has been faking everything from quitting Hollywood to concentrate on his “rap career” to the rap career itself for the film. What exactly this performance accomplishes is unclear, except that Phoenix is pretty disciplined.
During last year’s interview with Letterman, the talk show host repeatedly tried to engage Phoenix, only to be met by silence or one-word answers, as Phoenix appeared to be in a stupor. The video of his appearance went viral on the web. At the end of the interview Letterman cracked up the studio audience by saying, “Joaquin, I’m sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.”