Entertainment behind the scenes
What’s the deal with Joaquin Phoenix?
But maybe Phoenix is angling to have the last laugh with his professed retirement from acting to take up a career in hip-hop music?
Even though he has insisted in interviews with Reuters and others that he is not trying to fool anyone, some people are wondering if the whole thing is an elaborate put-on.
Wearing dark shades and a suit, Phoenix seemed unable to answer Letterman’s question about why his is quitting acting after ”Two Lovers,” which opens on Friday.
”It’s not really an easy thing to explain, it’s something that’s been a part of my life for a long time. It’s weird to like come out on stage in front of a bunch of other people and just talk about it,” Phoenix said.
At other times during the 10-minute interview, Phoenix stuck his gum under Letterman’s desk, swore at the show’s band leader Paul Shaffer, claimed ignorance that his latest movie is loosely based on a story by Fyodor Dostoevsky and changed the subject of his quitting acting to ask about Letterman’s cut thumb.
Oscar-nominated Phoenix’s new bearded appearance has taken fans by surprise. Remarking on the new look, Letterman asked him, “Can you tell us about your days with the Unabomber?,” a reference to a murderous and bearded U.S. radical who lived in the woods and grew a beard.
Phoenix’s response was merely to dust off his suit.
While many viewers thought Phoenix was just plain loopy, celebrity Web site TMZ.com got suspicious. In a blog post entitled “Letterman Falls for Joaquin Sideshow”, TMZ suggested that Phoenix’s goal is to pretend “he’s quitting acting to become a rap star — even though his singing sucks — and showing how the media will fall for it.”
It could be that , as he says, Phoenix is simply tired of acting. In the meantime, he has become the butt of jokes. Ending his interview with Phoenix, Letterman remarked, “Joaquin, I’m sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.”