When we last left “Space Camp” megastar Joaquin Phoenix, he had grown a Grizzly Man beard, sworn to quit acting and become a hip hop star, and then participated in this now legendary interview with David Letterman in which Letterman eviscerated him for an astonishing 10 minutes. Phoenix’s erratic behavior on that program was the culmination of what many considered either a psychotic breakdown (He asked a red carpet interviewer if he had frogs in his hair), or an enormous put-on. A grand-scale, Andy Kaufman style joke that doubled as a kind of performance art.
Well, you’re about to get your answer, because Casey Affleck’s “mockumentary” about Phoenix has been screened for buyers and could be coming soon for an inevitable one-week run at the smallest arthouse theater in your town. From Mike Fleming at Deadline:
Casey Affleck has completed that much-talked about and long-awaited mockumentary he directed about his brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix's eccentric metamorphosis from actor to hip-hop musician (or so we've been led to believe). I'm told that the film made its debut in a private lunchtime screening at WME headquarters last week for buyers -- including Harvey Weinstein -- who were sworn to secrecy. WME is selling the film, and it may only take a couple of days to reach a deal. I hear the agency and the distributors intend to keep the mock's content under wraps for as long as they can for maximum shock value…
Presumably, the film answers Hollywood's bewilderment about whether Joaquin was serious about quitting acting -- or whether he was just, well, acting.
I’ll go ahead and make this prediction right now. This movie will show that Phoenix was clearly goofing with Letterman and everyone else, but it will ALSO show that Phoenix is a complete nutjob anyway. After all, there’s no need for the two things to be mutually exclusive. To stage a “prank” this drawn out (and frankly, this unfunny), you probably aren’t of sound mind.
Of course, this serves to make the film all the more interesting. I’m sure it’ll spawn the usual questions of WHAT IS THE LINE BETWEEN REALITY AND ART? and all that other nonsense from annoying people. I just wanna see it to watch a man implode before my eyes and see him lamely try and pass it off as a joke. I look forward to Joaquin vanishing next year and then re-emerging as a Guyanese prince sixteen years from now. He’s fun like that.