Joaquin Phoenix’s whole aspiring-hip-hop-star stunt in I’m Still Here and all recent public appearances were a big act, the Times reported yesterday, confirming most people’s suspicions. But while Casey Affleck told the paper that nobody knew Phoenix was performing, Bill Scheft, a Letterman writer, said the late-night host knew what was up and knowingly played along with the act during Phoenix’s bizarre, now-infamous appearance on the show last February.
“Dave knew about it and Dave loved it because he could play along. It was great television. But I will take credit for the line, ‘I think I owe Farrah Fawcett an apology.’ That line was mine. I gave that to him during the break. I’ve told people that [everyone was in on the joke], and not only don’t people believe me, they tell me that I’m wrong and that [Phoenix] is a schizophrenic and he needs help and he’s going to end up like his brother [River, who died of a drug overdose in 1993]. I said no. I saw the segment notes. It’s an act. I saw Ben Affleck’s brother taping the whole thing from offstage.”
So when actors do publicity-mongering stunts on national television, it’s a big hoax that only the audience isn’t in on? You just can’t trust anyone anymore! Perhaps this will all be addressed during Phoenix’s next publicity-mongering Letterman appearance this Wednesday night.