Either Phoenix is perpetrating an elaborate Andy Kaufman-style hoax (with an
assist from his friend and brother-in-law Casey Affleck, who's ostensibly
shooting a documentary about his career transition), or he's truly lost his
marbles. The truth, it seems, is closer to the former. "He said, 'It's a put-on.
I'm going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going
to film it,'" says one source who recently worked with Phoenix.
Phoenix's interest in music is sincere (he earned Oscar and Grammy nominations
for his turn as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and has directed several music
videos), with this supposed career reboot he is evidently trying to both lampoon
pompous actors and punk the media that covers them. Whatever his motivation or
ultimate endgame, don't expect him to break character anytime soon. "It's an art
project for him," says a source. "He's going full out. He probably has told his
reps that he's quit acting. Joaquin is very smart. This is very conscious. He
has a huge degree of control."
On one hand, I am loathe to believe a nameless source, on the other, I love to be proven right. I also tend to believe Entertainment Weekly's gossip.
I look forward to the moment he announces the movie, and all the cheering toadies in the rap recording will claim to have been totally in on it.