Joaquin Phoenix Returning to Acting for 'The Beautiful Cigar Girl'?

Over a year ago, Joaquin Phoenix stunned the media with the announcement he was retiring from acting to pursue a career as a rapper. But if the people over at The Mumbai Mirror are to be believed, it would appear Phoenix may be coming out of retirement to play Edgar Allan Poe in a film adaptation of Daniel Stashower's book The Beautiful Cigar Girl.

The Mumbai Mirror spoke with Resul Pookutty, the Oscar-winning sound recordist for Slumdog Millionaire, who revealed details about his next movie:

“I couldn’t be happier because I am doing a period film. It is a very special challenge because I have to recreate the sound textures of New York in 1854. It’s an adaptation of The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower and based on an eerie real-life experience of author Edgar Allen Poe which happened just months before his death. Joaquin plays Edgar Allen Poe.”

The book surrounds the mysterious death of Mary Rogers, an 1850s NYC celebrity. The case went unsolved, and a year later Edgar Allan Poe wrote a novel based on the true events of her death. Stashower's book takes a step back and examines the scope of the entire story, including the public's fascination with the events. Russ Fischer at /Film calls the story "the 19th century Black Dahlia," and I personally think that's an apt comparison.

In true Hollywood fashion, multiple Edgar Allan Poe films are at various stages of production right now. Jeremy Renner is in talks to star in James McTeigue's The Raven, a last-days murder mystery about the famous poet. And don't forget that Sylvester Stallone has been interested in directing a Poe biopic for the past few years.

[caption id="attachment_20388" align="aligncenter" width="348"] James McTeigue taking on 'The Raven'[/caption]

In January of 2009, many people (myself included) thought Phoenix's apparent breakdown was some sort of hoax - perhaps a marketing stunt for his "last" film, James Gray's Two Lovers. But Phoenix hasn't stepped back in front of the cameras since that film finished production. More accurately, he hasn't stepped in front of the cameras for a studio-produced movie.

Rumors swirled that Casey Affleck, Phoenix's friend and brother-in-law, was filming a documentary about his attempt at making it big in the music biz, and the documentary was supposedly wrapping up before Affleck began acting in Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me. That film premiered at Sundance this year, but there has been no word on the progress of the Phoenix documentary or whether or not the project has been abandoned.

How do you feel about Joaquin Phoenix returning to acting? Does The Beautiful Cigar Girl sound like reason enough to return to the big screen? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Source: The Mumbai Mirror [via The Playlist]

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