Casey Affleck makes his directorial debut with a documentary I’m still Here. The film sets itself up as an intimate portrait of actor Joaquin Phoenix’s attempt to transition from a career as an Oscar nominated actor to one as a rapper.

Magnolia films roles out its marketing campaign for the film with the release of the poster art today.

The Poster is simple and clean, but the design along with the title indicates much of what we can expect from this film. This is a staged photo that appears to capture an organic moment. Joaquin Phoenix appears against a portrait backdrop looking like a cross between his Johnny Cash “character” – and a mountain man. In other words, every overtaxed country singer that ever was.

The title of the film appears to be blowing out of frame in the same direction as his unruly hair. This is a man that seems to be reconciling himself with his own love/hate relationship with fame, and perhaps a tendency toward self destruction.

Check out the poster for I’m Still Here below:

The appetite for a look at celebrity life is voracious. The life of a celebrity is so unique, so foreign, from what most of us experience that a voyeuristic impulse is nearly impossible to resist. That’s why countless celebrity documentaries and bios, both large and small, have been created. From the seminal Robert Evan’s controlled documentary on Robert Evans The Kid Stays In The Picture, to the highly exploitative Overnight about the (according to the film) downward spiral of Boondock Saints director Troy Duffy.

Casey Affleck has demonstrated powerful acting chops and interesting career choices with films such as Gone Baby Gone, The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford, and the film in which he and Phoenix first appeared together – To Die For.

In spite of the bizarre premise, and as an admirer of both Phoenix and Affleck’s work, I am still looking forward to I’m Still Here. With any documentary, the question of abusing the subject’s trust is always an issue. Yet as creators who have shared a relationship (brothers-in-law/best friends) my guess is that we will get a sanctioned look at “the price of fame” with regards to individual expression.

The title could be a play on two different themes. First, a man who feels his fame is fading in the face of an outlandishly ill-advised career move – and a man determined to assert his self-determination in the face of a very public image. Second, a claim by Phoenix that, despite what anyone thinks he is or wants him to be, “I’m Still Here.” Nothing completely novel, but potentially fascinating nonetheless.

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