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Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman: Actor Returns to Explain Last Year's Bizarre Appearance (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Sep 23rd 2010 3:45AM
Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman: The Weird Actor Returns for Round TwoJoaquin Phoenix apologized to David Letterman on 'The Late Show' (weeknights, 11:35PM ET on CBS) for his previous bizarre appearance on the show back in February 2009.

That interview was a memorable event for all concerned.

Back then, Joaquin sported a long beard, unruly hair and dark sunglasses. He muttered his way through his 10-minute segment on the show, barely answered any questions, and then bizarrely announced that he was quitting acting to start a new career as a rapper.

Well, since that last interview, Joaquin has released the "mockumentary" 'I'm Still Here,' which he shot along with his friend Casey Affleck. The movie purports to cover his "lost period" -- and features full-frontal male nudity, topless call girls, tons of drugs, and a now-infamous scene involving defecation. However, following the movie's release, director Affleck revealed that the entire thing was a hoax.

Tonight, Joaquin was back on 'Letterman,' to explain what in the world he was thinking. Let's hear what he has to say for himself, shall we?

First of all, this time around, Joaquin was clean-shaven, talkative and upbeat. He told Letterman that the purpose of his previous appearance was to provide something "authentic" for the mockumentary. He apologized for his behavior, and said that he hoped he hadn't caused any trouble.

Joaquin also explained that his movie project was inspired by reality TV. "I'd started watching a lot of reality shows," he said, "and, um, I was amazed that people believed them -- that they called them, like, 'reality.' I thought the only reason why is because it's billed as being 'real,' and the people use their real names. ... I thought I could handle that. ... You just use your name, and people think that it's real."

This was the actor's explanation of his entire 'I'm Still Here' acting project. So, in other words, Joaquin was attempting a performance art piece that critiqued the nature of "reality" itself. He wanted to act like a caricature of himself, and see if people would fall for it.

So there you go! That's the explanation! And now the hoax is over, and everything can go back to normal. ... Or maybe not. Because on tonight's show, Letterman posed this question to Joaquin about the 2009 interview: "Did I know anything about this?"

"No," was the answer. That is to say: Both Letterman and Joaquin were declaring that last time around, the host had no knowledge about the hoax, and thought that the actor really was crazy.

Hmmm ... That's interesting, because this week, Casey Affleck admitted that he told Letterman's sidekick Paul Shaffer about the prank beforehand -- making it incredibly likely that Letterman knew about it as well. And as if that wasn't enough, one of Letterman's writers, Bill Scheft, recently confirmed that the host knew that Joaquin was acting: "Dave knew about it, and Dave loved it because he could play along."

So it seems like the prank is still continuing, sort of. Letterman's acting like he believed that Joaquin had gone crazy. But really, he was in on the whole deal, as far as we can tell.

What do you guys think? Is Letterman lying? Is Joaquin still lying? How long can this hoax go on for? Will the strangeness ever end? And did you find Joaquin's weirdness entertaining, or did you think that this whole stunt just fell flat?

Check out the entire interview below:

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It was all very interesting and frankly I don't care.......I just hope he continues to make more movies & follows his music career as well. I think he is very gifted and look forward to more of Joaquin!

September 23 2010 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aol- don't appreciate being force-fed your lame political bullsh*t while looking at a video. I'll go elsewhere. Bet you don't post this, losers.

September 23 2010 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

who is this Joaquin Phoenix anyway

September 23 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The beginning of the media rehabilitation process.

September 23 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reality shows are all worthless. Can't the networks find something better to put on TV. Clicked on Jersey Shores for a few minutes, what garbage. Doesn't that generation have any morals!!!!! The Snookie girl, is disgusting and so into herself. How embarrasing to her parents.. REALITY SHOWS ARE GARBAGE

September 23 2010 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This segment gave me great ideas for my retirement fund. http://stickyegg.com

September 23 2010 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If JP really did that whole thing as a gag, congrats to him for outsmarting the "system." We expect these people to show up and entertain us like circus monkeys, and when they don't we think there's something wrong with THEM! The trick worked if it was as he said. Good for you, buddy!

September 23 2010 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Madame XXX

To Craig -- if you're still here: If you don't give a rat's ass, then why are you reading about it and using your precious time making comments?

September 23 2010 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Renee Banks

I honestly think he was cracked out that entire time and they're just using this "hoax" mumbo-jumbo as an excuse. It wouldn't be so far fetched that he was completely high off his ass that entire time and is finally clean and sober. That's just ridiculous. To carry a joke for that long doesn't make it funny. To spend thousands of dollars on a waste-of-film is not funny. Maybe I don't have a sense of humor, but I assure you, I'm not laughing with them. I'm just laughing at them.

Here's to next years crack binge, Joaquin!

September 23 2010 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looks like he pulled an Andy Kaufman on us.... great acting.

September 23 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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