If you are the type of person who believes what you are told, then the release of James Gray's Two Lovers is probably your last chance to see Joaquin Phoenix 'the actor' before he takes the hip-hop world by storm -- but that's only if you believe what you've been told. For every person who is convinced that Mr. Phoenix has gone around the bend (and you can't blame them with footage like this floating around), you will find another person who thinks that the whole thing is a big hoax...and it wouldn't be the first time we've been taken for a ride by a celebrity. But until Casey Affleck releases that 'documentary' of his, we won't know for sure, and I decided it might be worthwhile to look at other Tinseltown hoaxes to remind us that you can't always believe what you read -- especially in Hollywood.
1. Stanley Kubrick Fakes the Moon Landing
It's been a popular conspiracy theory that the director provided most of the footage for the Apollo 11 and 12 Moon landings; and as the story goes, Kubrick was right in the middle of post-production on 2001: A Space Odyssey, when he was approached by NASA to create footage of a moon landing since his was so realistic. Over the years, most of these theories have been debunked, but defenders of the 'Kubrick connection' love to remind us that Kubrick later used lenses for Barry Lyndon that were developed by NASA -- which they say is the proof of payment for faking the lunar adventure.
After the jump: the birth of 'Bigfoot' and hoaxes that ended with hard time...
2. Planet of The Apes Makeup Designer Created Bigfoot
Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin are known as the only men to capture the infamous Bigfoot on film, and in 1967, the debate was in full swing over whether Patterson and Gimlin were perpetrating a hoax of their own, or that they were the victims of a practical joke -- and this is where Hollywood comes into the story. It turns out that the make-up designer, John Chambers, who worked on the sci-fi classic Planet of The Apes (1968) had some experience with making 'Bigfoot suits', and was soon named the man responsible for making the suit worn in the film. It was almost 30 years later when director John Landis spilled the beans to journalists that Chambers had made the suit, but Chambers denied it and said that it was Landis who started the rumor in the first place -- and Bigfoot experts have been arguing about it ever since.
3. Keanu Reeves Marries David Geffen in Secret Ceremony
It's always entertaining to watch a rumor get recycled, but the first time we heard about Keanu Reeves' penchant for secret marriages was back in 1995, when he had supposedly married media mogul David Geffen in a private ceremony. Granted, it didn't take long for the parties involved to deny the story, but that didn't stop it from becoming another piece of Velvet Mafia lore.
4. Forged Marilyn Monroe Letters
Marilyn Monroe's affair with John F. Kennedy might have been one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood, but there was one problem; no one really ever had any proof (well, other than that highly inappropriate birthday serenade). But in 1990, 'hand typed' letters surfaced that were purportedly sent from Monroe to Kennedy that included discussions of an agreement between the President and Monroe promising her invalid mother $100,000 in exchange for her keeping quiet about the affair, and Kennedy's dealings with the Chicago mob. The owner of the letters, Lex Cusack, even managed to make $7 million selling the fakes before he was exposed, and sentenced to 10 years in prison for fraud.
5. Howard Hughes 'Autobiography'
Possibly the most famous hoax on our list, but when it comes to pulling a fast one, Clifford Irving has them all beat. Irving was an author in his own right, and he must have been one hell of liar, because he managed to scam almost $1 million dollars from publishers, and fool experts around the world with his fake Autobiography of Howard Hughes. It was only after Hughes came out of hiding to denounce the book and sue the publisher, did Irving finally confess to the deception and he was eventually sentenced to 17 months in prison.
6. Richard Gere....and I think we all know where I'm going with this one.
OK, everybody knows this story; I don't know where it came from, or why it was created, but the tale of a 'romance' between Richard Gere and a gerbil has never really left pop culture consciousness. No matter how many times the story has been debunked and disproved, this particular piece of gossip will not go away -- but I guess sometimes the lie is just more interesting than the truth.
7. Cannibal Holocaust
Just in case you thought the Blair Witch kids were the first to come up with a 'found footage' marketing technique, think again, because Cannibal Holocaust definitely did it first. Now I'm sure horror fans have heard this one before, but the low-budget flick was once considered to be the first motion picture to kill actual people on screen. Holocaust centered on a group of documentary filmmakers who disappeared after journeying into the Amazon Rain Forest, and is to this day one of the most gruesome things ever committed to film -- even by today's 'Torture Porn' standards, Holocaust has some mind-boggling F/X. The director, Ruggero Deodato even kept the actors from appearing in public to play up the 'real-life' aspect of the movie, and speculation about the how 'real' this film actually was ran wild. It was only when Deodato was about to be charged with murder did he finally produce the four actors who had been 'killed' on an Italian talk show.