This September, it looks like we’ll finally get our answer to Joaquin Phoenix’s bizarre behavior last year. For those who need a brief refresher, Phoenix announced that he was retiring from acting in order to pursue a rap career. This was followed by an infamous appearance on David Letterman and video of him falling off a stage while trying to rap. Brother-in-Law Casey Affleck was invited by Phoenix to film the whole experience and the result is the upcoming documentary I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix. Magnolia Pictures has announced in a press release that they have has picked up the distribution rights and the documentary will have a platform release on September 10th and then go wide on September 17th. A festive debut is being considered and the film will be also be available via Magnolia’s Video-on-Demand service. Phoenix will also be speaking out about the film in some capacity.
Hit the jump for more details about I’m Still Here.
Deadline reports that other potential buyers were put off by the film and were unable to tell if the film was an Andy Kaufman-like hoax or if Phoenix was actually having a meltdown. I wonder if it was somewhere in between, and if Phoenix informed Affleck, “I’m about to have a major meltdown. You may want to grab your camera.” In I’m Still Here, Phoenix is reportedly seen snorting coke off the breast of a prostitute. I’d say that’s worth capturing on
Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said that of the film:
It is going to get a lot of attention, but it is not some cheap stunt where they said, ‘Let’s do some wild stuff and film it.’ It is extreme behavior but really good filmmaking as well. Frankly, some of the behavior is very extreme. But it is in the context of the insanity of being in Joaquin’s life for that period of time. It is a unique piece of work that is going to surprise people in different ways.”
That’s a smart way to justify the purchase: say the movie isn’t a gimmick, but a real film that will shock the audience, but not in a cheap way. I don’t need to be sold on I’m Still Here. I’ve wanted to see it ever since the project was first announced.
For those who haven’t seen it, here’s Phoenix’s painfully awkward appearance on Letterman:
Here are more details on the film via Magnolia’s press release:
The Wagner/Cuban Companies’ Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired world rights to Oscar-nominee Casey Affleck’s directorial debut, I’M STILL HERE, a striking portrayal of a tumultuous year in the life of internationally acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix. With remarkable access, I’M STILL HERE follows the Oscar-nominee as he announces his retirement from a successful film career in the fall of 2008 and sets off to reinvent himself as a hip hop musician. Sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, and always riveting, the film is a portrait of an artist at a crossroads. Defying expectations, it deftly explores notions of courage and creative reinvention, as well as the ramifications of a life spent in the public eye.