We hope we've adequately prepared you for this shock: Joaquin Phoenix's rap career may be an elaborate hoax. Yes, we've pointed this out before, but now, two sources are confirming the stunt to Entertainment Weekly:
Following his widely panned three-song debut as a rapper at a Las Vegas nightclub on Jan. 16 — a shambling performance that concluded with the actor falling off the stage — two competing theories emerged: 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.
Though 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."
Here's the thing, though: can the media that covers Phoenix really be lampooned when they're already calling bullshit on him? And wouldn't the real "pompous actors" be the ones who, like Phoenix, think this vanity project/mockumentary is worth doing anyway? In that sense, then, by lampooning him on a regular basis, perhaps we've come the closest to Phoenix's actual intent. Joaquin, we will accept a "story by" credit under our pen name, D. Famer. As for compensation, please just stop.