Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Joaquin Phoenix's "rap career" finally gets its big-screen payoff

Joaquin Phoenix’s infamous, probably staged career meltdown has found an enabler in Magnolia Pictures, who recently acquired I’m Still Here: The Lost Year Of Joaquin Phoenix for a limited September 10 release, with wide release to follow a week later. (Which seems sort of presumptuous, but okay.) It's something of an unexpected deal, actually, considering the last film Phoenix made for Magnolia, 2009's Two Lovers, was effectively tanked by Phoenix's bizarre behavior during its promo campaign. And as to the longstanding question of whether Phoenix’s excruciatingly drawn-out transformation from somewhat-respected actor to pointedly terrible, Diddy-approved rapper was all just a hoax meant to comment on the vulgarities of fame or what-the-fuck-ever, well, that’s pretty much been rendered moot by Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles, who says he doesn’t know whether it’s real or not—only that he can sell it:

“No matter what I thought coming in, I came out feeling this was a pretty amazing piece of work, jaw dropping but dimensional," Bowles told me. "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."

As we’ve reported before, said “extreme behavior” contained in the Casey Affleck-directed film includes not-at-all-cheap-stunt scenes like Phoenix snorting cocaine off the breast of a prostitute and allowing some guy to take a huge, dimensional dump on his chest, which suggests that when it comes out, Harmony Korine is going to be sitting in a theater pulling a pout face. If nothing else, if finally selling his performance-art self-indulgence to someone means that soon enough we can stop pretending like it’s anything but, then we’re all for it.


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