Joaquin Phoenix is still trying undo the potential damage done to his career over the past year and a half, while the actor was pretending to lose his mind for the sake of the mockumentary film, I'm Still Here.
Since I'm Still Here whispered into theaters (read our review HERE) Phoenix and I'm Still Here director (and Phoenix's brother-in-law) Casey Affleck have been out in public trying to come clean about the stunt they pulled. Affleck recently did an interview confessing that I'm Still Here is totally fake, while Phoenix has been reportedly courting new roles, including a part in a Clint Eastwood film.
However, there is still dust kicked up by I'm Still Here that has yet to be settled. Phoenix and Affleck not only tricked the public, they also hustled many within the Hollywood industry, including their fellow celebrities, assistants, PR people, handlers and, of course, Late Show host David Letterman.
For those who don't remember, a bearded and disheveled Phoenix appeared on Letterman's Late Show back in early 2009, and the result of that interview became (and still is) a pop-culture sensation. To call the interview bizarre would be an epic understatement; the stunt led to months of speculation about whether or not Phoenix had truly gone mad, was on drugs or was faking, as well as many, many, questions about whether or not Letterman was in an the (hoax? Joke?).
If you haven't seen it (and I can't imagine many out there who haven't) take a trip down memory lane to one of the craziest Late Show interviews ever conducted:
Now that you've been reminded of what it was like to see Bizarro Joaquin Phoenix on The Late Show, allow me to re-introduce you to the normal Joaquin Phoenix, as he reunites with David Letterman for the first time:
If you missed it, Phoenix did extended this formal apology to Letterman, while stating in no uncertain terms that the Late Show host had NOTHING to do with the hoax:
"You've interviewed many, many people and I assumed that you would know the difference between a character and a real person, so... but I apologize...I hope I didn't offend you in any way."
Letterman seemed to take the apology well: he jabbed at Phoenix with some harmless jokes, before the conversation suddenly steered into the arena of legality.
Last time these two were together I came away questioning whether or not Joaquin Phoenix was truly insane. This time, however, I'm questioning whether or not David Letterman is truly expecting a payday from Phoenix and Affleck for their exploitation use of his persona and show, or if the legendary host is simply trying to make Mr. Phoenix squirm a bit. As we saw with that whole attempted blackmail scandal awhile back, David Letterman is not the kind of guy you want to mess with - and he's certainly not afraid to air some dirty laundry in public.
In the end, I don't think Letterman will get too fanatical about his payback - but I do think he is a seasoned Hollywood shark (the late night wars with Jay Leno over the years proved that), and I totally believe that he would quickly and quietly secure some sort of payment from these two young actors who tried to kid one of the best kidders in the business.
Joaquin, Casey, I hope it was all worth it...
We'll keep you posted on Joaquin Phoenix's next career moves as the news roles in. Stay tuned.