Friday, September 17, 2010

Casey Affleck Comes Clean

I DON'T think anybody's terribly surprised. But Casey Affleck just admitted to the New York Times that is bizarre documentary on Joachin Phoenix, I'm Still Here, was a piece of performance art.

From Michael Cieply's piece in today' NYT:

His new movie, “I’m Still Here,” was performance. Almost every bit of it. Including Joaquin Phoenix’sdisturbing 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.
Of course, the rumors were already swirling that the Phoenix film -- which involved the actor-cum-rapper ordering hookers, snorting what seemed to be coke, etc. -- was a mockumentary or something Andy Kaufman-esque. When I wrote about Affleck in June -- here's my LA Times story --  I asked him about this directly. Affleck -- who I found smart, engaging and sometimes very uncomfortable -- seemed a bit offended I would question his motives like that, and answered in his most sincere voice.
"There's nothing 'mock' about it," Affleck asserts, adding that speculation has grown "strange and twisted" because of his silence. "It's just a film about a real man who had a period of his life that was pretty dramatic. In order to make the film I had to reveal certain private things and put them in the 
proper context. JP feels this will correct certain misperceptions."
Affleck told Cieply:
“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.”

Confused? Me, too. But we are talking -- after all, folks -- about an actor.

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