16:35 17 September 2010
Actor turned director Casey Affleck has admitted that the documentary film he made about Joaquin Phoenix quitting Hollywood to become a hip hop star was all staged.
Affleck confirmed to the New York Times that Phoenix gave a "terrific" performance" for 'I'm Still Here' which premiered at the Venice Film Festival this month. At the festival, Affleck insisted the events were genuine.
At a press conference, Affleck said: "I sincerely do not want to influence people's interpretation.
"I can tell you there's no hoax, the idea of a hoax makes me think of candid camera and things like [MTV prank show] Punk'd.
"It never entered my conscience, until other people started to talk about the movie."
However, his interview with the New York Times, revealed that it was a sham and Oscar nominee Phoenix gave "the performance of his career".
He added: "I never intended to trick anybody."
There had been initial concerns regarding the 'Walk the Line' and 'Gladiator' star's mental wellbeing after he appeared on David Letterman's chat show in February last year, seeming confused and incoherent, giving short answers while looking bewildered.
Affleck admitted that few knew what was going on, including Letterman himself who famously ended his interview with: "Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight."
Phoenix is set to bring his 'career meltdown' full circle by appearing on Letterman's show next week. This time he will not be in character.
'I'm Still Here' is still creating controversy as it isn't clear if scenes which include the actor taking drugs, looking on the internet for call girls, diving off a stage to attack a heckler and vomiting are real or not.
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