I'm Still Here, Joaquin Phoenix

Magnolia Pictures

Hats (and beards) off to Joaquin Phoenix.

We can now safely call I'm Still Here a mockumentary, now that director Casey Affleck has admitted that Phoenix, an Oscar-nominated actor, was just playing yet another role when he pretended to shuck his career in favor of becoming a rapper and, while doing so, steadily self-destruct.

"It's a terrific performance, it's the performance of his career," Affleck told the New York Times in a recent interview.

Hmph, David Letterman will be the judge of that.

In addition to admitting that the movie—which Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan called either "a sad and horrifying cautionary tale" or "a glum and dispiriting counterfeit of reality"—was pure production ("there were multiple takes"), Affleck says that Letterman was not in on the joke when Phoenix gave his infamous 2009 noninterview.

"Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight," the Late Show joked to his very un-present guest at the time.

Phoenix, somewhat bravely, is scheduled to return to Letterman on Sept. 22. We have a feeling Dave's not ready to let bygones be bygones, and, oh boy, will he have plenty of ammunition.

"The reviews were so angry," Affleck admits about I'm Still Here's poor critical reception, though he doesn't blame shoddy filmmaking, but rather audience confusion as to how they were supposed to feel about the movie's look at an unkempt, overweight, drug-abusing Phoenix.

Like, who's fooling whom here?

"I never intended to trick anybody," says Affleck, who had more than bad reviews to worry about when the film came out. "The idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind."

That's cool. A trip to the theater hadn't really entered our minds, either.

(Originally published Sept. 16, 2010, at 3:30 p.m. PT)


See what your fave stars are up to while they make blatantly fictional films in our Snapped on Set: Movies gallery.

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