Home > Vulture News > ‘I’m Not Here’ Premieres In Venice: Director Casey Affleck Tells Reporters “There Is No Hoax”

‘I’m Not Here’ Premieres In Venice: Director Casey Affleck Tells Reporters “There Is No Hoax”

Joaquin Phoenix became a Youtube favorite last year for his strange public appearances which included an awkward interview on David Letterman‘s show and an impromptu rap performance at a Miami nightclub which ended in a fist fight with an audience member. Through it all, he was followed by a camera crew, which fueled speculation that his bizarre behavior was an Andy Kaufman-esque put-on for the movie to follow. The resulting film, I’m Not Here, which chronicles the strange year in the actor’s life, premiered Monday at the Venice Film Festival and its director, Casey Affleck insisted to reporters that Phoenix’s behavior was for real. He said:

Elliptically, I would say … I sincerely don’t want to influence people’s interpretation. I can tell you there is no hoax. It makes me think of ‘Candid Camera’ or something.

In the film Phoenix denounces the acting profession, gains weight and grows a beard. He is also depicted using drugs and meeting with prostitutes. Affleck said, despite the rumors, the movie is a no holds barred look at an actor at a personal and professional crossroads:

I know that he is someone that doesn’t shy away from letting me see all the different aspects of his personality and if he was willing to do it and I was willing to do it I owed it to him to make it as unflinching look at him as I possibly could.

Phoenix was not present for the screening and Affleck mentioned that he was in Venice and wasn’t:

hiding from the movie.

If it is indeed a documentary look at Phoenix’s life, it would certainly be the most raw and disturbing look a famous person’s private world. The fact that his meltdown happened to coincide with the filming of the movie, makes it pretty clear that it is an elaborate joke that the filmmakers and the actor himself are taking very seriously. Whether audiences will be compelled to figure out the mystery by buying a ticket to the film, remains to be seen. The movie’s trailer is posted below:


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