Even up until the Venice Film Festival, Casey Affleck was sticking to his story that his new and crazy-looking documentary, “I’m Still Here” was the real deal; The story of up and coming actor Joaquin Phoenix’s seeming descent to a mumbling rapper.
As of September 17th, Affleck has come forward and finally given up the ghost. In an interview with the New York times, the director finally came clean to the fact that the whole thing was a publicity stunt.
“It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career,” Affleck stated, in the context of Phoenix’s dilligant two-year portrayal of himself — on screen and off — as a bearded, drug-addled aspiring rap star.
Mr. Affleck goes on to say that the actor put his professional life on the line to star in a bit of “gonzo filmmaking” inspired by the reality-bending journalism of Hunter Thompson.
“The reviews were so angry,” he said, although he attributed much of the hostility to his own frustating silence about the validity of the film.
Since it’s premiere last week, “I’m Still Here” has been receiving scathing reviews from a surmounting number of critics, including the likes of Roger Ebert, who wrote that the film was “a sad and painful documentary that serves little useful purpose other than to pound another nail into the coffin.”
Apparently, almost none of it was real. Not even the opening shots, supposedly of Phoenix and his siblings swimming in Panama. Affleck admitted that this was actually shot in Hawaii with actors, then run back and forth on top of an old videocassette recording of “Paris, Texas” to degrade the images.
“I never intended to trick anybody,” Casey says. Supposedly, “the idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind.”
While it certainly would’ve been more interesting if this turned out to all be true, I don’t think this will deter me from seeing the film this week. It takes a lot of guts and determination to be able to pull something like this off, and I think that their ingenious deserves to be paid-off; That’s just me, what do you guys think?