I spent most of this morning putting together a timeline (you can watch a movie of it after the break, best viewed in fullscreen) showing some of the highlights of Joaquin Phoenix's life so far, which led me to some unexpected treats. Did you know he wigged out on the red carpet during Walk the Line? Apparently he thought a huge frog was crawling out of his hair. Or that he was rescued for a car wreck by director Werner Herzog? And this was all pre-"completely nuts" Phoenix. Then came the infamous appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he appeared to have lost all his marbles. Incoherent at best, the interview was a sham, and felt like a joke. Especially when Phoenix himself nearly cracked up at Dave's final line.
For those of you who might not have been following this apparent career (and sanity) flameout, it got a lot weirder. Here's a summary: October 2008 - Phoenix announces he's retiring from acting, and his brother in law Casey Affleck is present and says it's not a hoax. January 2009 - Affleck and Phoenix announce that a documentary is being made about Phoenix, with Affleck directing. That weekend, Phoenix "performs" for the first time in Las Vegas, falls off the stage, and it's all filmed by Affleck and crew. February 2009, his infamous David Letterman appearance occurs. May 2010, the movie is seen by a group of buyers who find it perplexing, and Casey Affleck is interviewed on ABC and says that the movie isn't a joke.
Oh, but there's more. That film, now titled I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix, has been seen by a select few, and you can read on to find out about the worst perpetrated hoax in recent history, right after the break.
But earlier on the same day as his appearance on Letterman, Cinemablend's Katey Rich had interviewed a very lucid Phoenix, who answered all of her questions, didn't appear vapid, and wasn't wasting her time. He even appreciated her asking, basically, if this was all bullshit. Of course, he then went on to appear on national television and make a fool out of himself, all for his art, one supposes. There were a few other highlights of this faux musical career: he "attacked" a heckler at an audience in Miami, blabbered on annoyingly about his switch new music where he calls the golden years of hip-hop 1987 to 1993,
Now that people have seen a cut of the film, some of the details have begun to leak out. According to the Los Angeles Times, "It's far from the Joaquin Phoenix you're used to seeing onscreen: snorting cocaine, ordering call girls, having oral sex with a publicist, treating his assistants abusively and rapping badly." Paste Magazine goes on to say there's even more, "including a bizarre scene involving human feces and lots of male frontal nudity." You have to wonder how a brother in law could just sit idly by and watch someone go down a destructive spiral like this, unless it's all an elaborately, poorly planned prank.
The first clue is that this is all fake his "music" is complete and utter crap. Seriously, listen to it and try and find one redeeming quality about it. I will admit that him falling off the stage during the performance was great, although I hoped that was real and not faked. Two Lovers costar Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't appear to be very amused by his antics in this interview she gives to ITN Entertainment. She's probably not happy that his d-baggery happened to occur during the press for this movie. A source close to Phoenix also told Entertainment Weekly last January that Phoenix had admitted to them, "It's a put-on. I'm going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it."
What I'm really amazed at is that people are still buying it. At this point, it's become readily apparent that both Phoenix and Casey Affleck are pulling our collective chains in a hoax of Clifford Irving-esque proportions. Remember when John Malkovich quit acting and took up puppetry in Being John Malkovich? I can only hope that somewhere there's a bizarre portal that zaps you into the mind of Joaquin Phoenix, and that there's a nebbishy file clerk pulling his strings. Then I'll find it, and charge admission to The Joaquin Phoenix Experience.
And I couldn't leave out this little gem: