Joaquin Phoenix film, not a hoax

12/05/2010 | By

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Casey Affleck insists that his documentary about his Oscar-nominated brother-in-law’s reinvention as a rap artist is a record of ‘a very private internal implosion’

Joaquin Phoenix’s apparent decision to quit acting for a rap career has long been written off by most as an amusing hoax. Yet Casey Affleck, Phoenix’s brother-in-law and the director of a forthcoming documentary about the Oscar-nominated actor’s first year in his new role, yesterday insisted once again that his film was 100% bona fide.

Affleck, who is married to Phoenix’s sister Summer, told ABC News that he shot documentary I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix, "to explore what I thought would be an interesting period in his life".

He added: "He said he didn’t want to act any more, he wanted to try doing music, and that, right there, says something’s going to happen … I had no idea what exactly was going to happen and all that would unfold."

Phoenix, a critically acclaimed, twice Oscar-nominated actor, supposedly quit in October 2008 to pursue his music. Affleck-filmed video of a ramshackle performance in Las Vegas soon hit the web, and a later appearance on David Letterman seemed to confirm that the whole thing was a joke, with an unshaven, bloated Phoenix mumbling incoherently through his interview with the chatshow host.

"It ended up being more and more fascinating, more and more things happened that were both in the public spectacle and a very private internal implosion that I got to witness," said Affleck, who recently showed his film to studio executives, including Harvey Weinstein, in the hope of securing a buyer. "It made for this unbelievable, one-of-a-kind movie.

"I understand there were all these different reactions to what happened on the Letterman show," he added. "Millions of people saw on YouTube and wrote about it and talked about it all over the place but most of them were wrong. [Joaquin’s motive] was nothing that anybody ever guessed."

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