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Gingersnap
09-17-2010, 11:37 AM
Documentary? Better Call It Performance Art

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
Published: September 16, 2010

Joaquin Phoenix in “I’m Still Here.” Roger Ebert called it “a sad and painful documentary.” Mr. Affleck says it’s mostly fiction.

CASEY AFFLECK wants to come clean.

His new movie, “I’m Still Here,” was performance. Almost every bit of it. Including Joaquin Phoenix’s disturbing appearance on David Letterman’s late-night show in 2009, Mr. Affleck said in a candid interview at a cafe here on Thursday morning.

“It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career,” Mr. Affleck said. He was speaking of Mr. Phoenix’s two-year portrayal of himself — on screen and off — as a bearded, drug-addled aspiring rap star, who, as Mr. Affleck tells it, put his professional life on the line to star in a bit of “gonzo filmmaking” modeled on the reality-bending journalism of Hunter S. Thompson.

“I’m Still Here” was released last week by Magnolia Pictures to scathing reviews by a number of critics, including Roger Ebert, who wrote that the film was “a sad and painful documentary that serves little useful purpose other than to pound another nail into the coffin.”

“The reviews were so angry,” said Mr. Affleck, who attributed much of the hostility to his own long silence about a film that left more than a few viewers wondering what was real — The drugs? The hookers? The childhood home-movie sequences in the beginning? — and what was not.

Virtually none of it was real. Not even the opening shots, supposedly of Mr. Phoenix and his siblings swimming in a water hole in Panama. That, Mr. Affleck said, was actually shot in Hawaii with actors, then run back and forth on top of an old videocassette recording of “Paris, Texas” to degrade the images.

“I never intended to trick anybody,” said Mr. Affleck, an intense 35-year-old who spoke over a meat-free, cheese-free vegetable sandwich on Thursday. “The idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind.”

Still, he acknowledged that Mr. Letterman was not in on the joke when Mr. Phoenix, on Feb. 11, 2009, seemed to implode his own career by showing up in character as a mumbling, aimless star gone wrong.

That was just three years after he had received an Oscar nomination for his spot-on performance as Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line,” and memories of the film were fresh enough to induce shock in the millions who watched him on the show and in later Internet replays.

Mr. Letterman summed up the interview: “Joaquin, I’m sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.”

Celebutards. :rolleyes:

NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/movies/17affleck.html?_r=2&hp)

bijou
09-17-2010, 11:57 AM
I know it's a complete side issue but, really
a meat-free, cheese-free vegetable sandwich why would you bother? :D

That said, he does seem to have carried it off well, just for a change a shocking piece of art that doesn't rely on bashing the usual favourite targets.

jendf
09-17-2010, 12:13 PM
I don't understand the point of all this. Phoenix was awesome as Cash in Walk the Line. Why would he turn around and do this? It's such a head-scratcher.

Celebutards, indeed. :rolleyes:

Gingersnap
09-17-2010, 12:34 PM
I don't understand the point of all this. Phoenix was awesome as Cash in Walk the Line. Why would he turn around and do this? It's such a head-scratcher.

Celebutards, indeed. :rolleyes:

He's hippie-bred. Those people can do anything. :cool:

jendf
09-17-2010, 12:43 PM
He's hippie-bred. Those people can do anything. :cool:

Except bathe.

Joe Inflate
09-17-2010, 03:31 PM
Except bathe.

And work.