For those who care about such things (and sadly too few Christians do), the whole thing was a hoax. Actually it wasn’t so much a hoax as it was an extended publicity stunt. Joaquin Phoenix—best known for his role as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line—took performance art to a whole new level (not seen since the days of Andy Kaufman), by playing a distracted, disoriented, and disturbed version of himself for nearly two years. Phoenix claimed that he was giving up acting and striking out on a career as a hip-hop musician. In reality, he was taking his acting career more seriously than most by staying in character everywhere he went. Phoenix’s brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, let the cat out of the bag in a New York Times interview last week and Phoenix himself (as himself) appeared on David Letterman’s show last night to set things straight after his infamous interview—as the incognito Joaquin—more than a year and a half ago. The movie that documents the whole affair—directed by Affleck—is entitled I’m Still Here and was released last week to a pitiful opening, “attracting so few moviegoers this past weekend that it only made $115,000 in 120 theaters, a per-screen average of $953 per theater.”

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