I think most of us saw this coming: There is a chance that Joaquin Phoenix might be ready to end his self-imposed retirement and return to the big-screen (just in time to save his career). To put it bluntly, Phoenix darn near torpedoed his reputation back in 2008 when he announced his leap into the world of hip-hop. But, there was hope that he had seen the light (or perhaps had finally gotten enough footage for his celebrity melt-down satire) when Shock Till You Drop reported that Phoenix would be playing the master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, in the literary thriller The Beautiful Cigar Girl, about the grisly inspiration for Poe's The Mystery of Marie Rogêt. (You can read more about the film over at Horror Squad.)

Of course, nothing is ever that easy when it comes to the actor-turned-hip-hop artist, and there are now reports that the former-actor's rep has denied that Phoenix had signed on for the role. So, we are left wondering, is Phoenix just yanking our chain yet again? The much more likely explanation is that maybe someone let their imagination run away with them in an attempt to get a little attention.

It wasn't all that long ago that Phoenix had become a bit of a handy celebrity punchline, and he did his fair share to give comedians and late-night hosts plenty to work with. But even those who weren't mocking the buffoonery of the formerly celebrated actor were shaking their heads in pity, discussing lost potential along with the usual Hollywood hand-wringing about the price of young fame. But I think there were plenty of us hoping that Phoenix would someday return to what he did best -- and that wasn't bumbling around on-stage to a generic hip-hop beat.

After the jump: Whatever happened to that documentary?

Of course, most of the editorializing has died down now, and there hasn't been a peep out of Phoenix or his supposed music career. Now you might be wondering: what was all that rapping about in the first place, then? Well, at the time, the prevailing theory was that the whole thing was just a giant meta-stunt for a documentary with Casey Affleck, but if that's the case, they are going to have to make some progress, otherwise, most of us are just going to assume that there was no such film, and that this is just the beginning of Phoenix's fall from grace. Plus, we'll just have to get used to the fact that Phoenix the actor is long gone, and all that's left is Phoenix the pop culture urban legend.

So, do you think that Phoenix might return to the big-screen, and more importantly, would you even care?

Update: Reps for the actor have since denied these rumors.
CATEGORIES Casting, Cinematical