I’ll cut right to the chase: I’m Still Here, the “documentary” that chronicles actor Joaquin Phoenix’s supposed mental breakdown and attempts to reinvent himself as a hiphop artist has been revealed as a fake. The movie was staged, and was basically a huge prank on everyone, but it seems as though it was mostly aimed at the media. It’s no secret that Joaquin has never liked the media, be it the paparazzi or even just the reporters on the red carpet who want to interview him. This clip from a 2005 red carpet event, wherein Joaquin asks if he has a frog in his hair, should’ve tipped us off that he likes to mess with the press.
Of course, this little stunt only made people question whether he was mentally stable, even though he said he was just joking around. Who knows? Maybe this incident was what inspired I’m Still Here in the first place. I can just imagine Joaquin reading headlines speculating that he was on drugs during this interview, and thinking to himself “They think I’m nuts! I can exploit this!” But I’m getting off track. After years of speculation, director Casey Affleck, Phoenix’s brother in law, finally admitted that the movie was staged, and that the whole thing basically started with the infamous David Letterman interview.
I wish I could say I was more impressed with the hoax that Affleck and Phoenix perpetrated, but really I’m just less impressed with everyone who bought it. Even though Phoenix and Affleck insisted the movie was real every step of the way, by the time word got out that the film features Phoenix snorting cocaine, soliciting prostitutes and pooping in his assistant’s mouth, it became pretty obvious to me that this was a work of fiction. After all, one would assume that if Phoenix really was screwing up his life in the ways the film depicts, some friends and family members would have stepped in and staged an intervention. That being said, I’m still pretty intrigued by the film, but I can’t help wondering if Joaquin has committed career suicide even though he didn’t really have the breakdown that the movie claims he had. Is any studio going to want to work with him after this stunt? Or will he now be seen as too unpredictable for the Hollywood system. I sure hope that he didn’t piss off James Gray, for whom Phoenix was a bit of a muse, after he overshadowed Two Lovers‘ press tour with his insane antics and massive beard.
Are you still interested in I’m Still Here now that we know it’s a fake?