What was once seen as an explosive and tragic downward spiral is now confirmed as a hoax: I'm Still Here, director Casey Affleck's new film documenting the apparent collapse of Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix and his journey to become a hip hop artist, is not real.
“It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career,” Affleck confessed to the New York Times regarding the authenticity of I'm Still Here, adding that he "never intended to trick anybody" and that "the idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind."
According to Affleck, several scenes in the film were shot using multiple takes, some of it shot with actual actors in Hawaii. Affleck said that "his real intention" was supposed to be revealed by way of "subtle cues" including the increased sophistication of camera techniques as the movie goes on. But if the audience didn't get the message of I'm Still Here, that's because — as Affleck himself concedes — "There was no wink."
Phoenix is scheduled to appear next week on The Late Show with David Letterman, following up on his 2009 appearance that became a viral video sensation online. Letterman was apparently not in on the joke. Asked if Phoenix would appear on the show "in character," Affleck said: "No, no, no."