Entertainment behind the scenes
Joaquin Phoenix: the rap, the fight … the hoax?
Who does supposedly retired actor Joaquin Phoenix think he’s fooling?
The star of films “Two Lovers,” “We Own the Night” and “Walk the Line” took the stage at a Miami club on Wednesday night with another opportunity to show the world his hip-hop chops, now that he has announced his retirement from acting for an “extreme makeover” to pursue a career as a rap artist.
But instead of getting the celebrity blogosphere chattering about his mad skills as a rapper, Phoenix won headlines for jumping into the crowd to go after a heckler. Phoenix performed in the same look — shaggy beard, business suit and shades –that he sported in his much maligned appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” on Feb. 11, when he managed the odd trick of seeming spaced out and confrontational at the same time.
In Miami on Wednesday night, Phoenix was mostly just confrontational. In a video of the incident posted on YouTube.com, the 34-year-old artist formerly known as an actor bragged from the stage about how much money he had in the bank during his expletive-laden confrontation with the heckler, before going after the audience member. Then the video gets dark and it becomes impossible to see what followed, other than that Phoenix eventually walked off and the performance went on without him.
Everyone notes that Ben Affleck’s brother, Casey, is tagging along with Phoenix as the two are reportedly working on a documentary about his transition from Oscar-nominated actor to wannabe rapper. So, ever since Phoenix announced his career move, some celebrity watchers have been calling his move a hoax, even though he denies it. Another line of speculation has centered on whether Phoenix suffers from mental illness. Chicago-based psychiatrist Paul Dobransky has said that he believes Phoenix may be mentally ill, and as a result he was “offended” when comic actor Ben Stiller spoofed Phoenix’s appearance on Letterman at the Academy Awards on Feb. 22.
Everyone will be watching Phoenix’s supposed rap career as it unfolds, but as Rolling Stone magazine said on Thursday, the artist could go a long way toward proving his rap mettle if he actually released a song. So far, he has not convinced anyone the rap career is for real.