Joaquin Pheonix and I'm Still Here, what's going on?
It struck me while I was reading the latest story about Joaquin Pheonix and Casey Affleck's film I'm Still Here, his apparent retirement from acting, and the is it or isn't it question for if the film is fake or not, just what affect this is all having on the film and on the actor.
The more I thought about it the more I couldn't help but think that this isn't going to do anything for the average audience and it's only going to end up making the actor look even more obscure to the audience.
A new story out today reveals that Joaquin Pheonix is far from retiring and was recently in negotiations to join the Edgar Allan Poe film The Raven, a role that went to John Cusack. Further roles in major films such as Genius and The Sitter were, according to the article in The Hollywood Reporter, ready to be offered to him.
That does go against everything that was said, and by Pheonix himself, about leaving acting and becoming a musical artist, and that's the whole point of this made in secret documentary called I'm Still Here which everyone is now questioning the reality of.
The documentary was announced when the stories started to appear that Casey Affleck was making the film about Pheonix's stab at a musical career, and as he appeared on chat shows and performing on stage his behaviour became stranger and questions were raised about how real this was.
However recently Affleck was out defending the film and stating quite clearly that the film was a documentary and he was recording what really happened, none of it was false, none of it was fake.
Next we hear that there's a Joaquin Pheonix imposter attending media events and pretending to be him, and there's even a publicist for the imposter that began answering press queries. Apparently the imposter is set to appear at the première of the film I'm Still Here and have a showdown with the actor.
Frankly it doesn't sound real at all, it all sounds as though it's some marketing ploy, something so out there to try and represent the cult of celebrity, with the imposter representing something about the two sides that someone in the spotlight has to have, and after a fight at the première we'll see the real Pheonix return.
What struck me about this is just how much the average audience member, the ticket paying person in the cinema seat, is going to be touched by any of this, and if they are what are they really going to think.
Really it's just the concern of the media and those who are interested in the film business, everyone from those involved in the film industry right down to people like me, fans of film blogging about film. They're the ones who are more interested in whether Pheonix continues acting or not and what's really going on with the film.
What does the ticket paying audience member think? They probably don't care and are exposed to the most public of these stories, such as his appearance on chat shows, and what feeling does that leave them with? That Pheonix is another ego-fuelled, difficult and confused Hollywood star appearing on screen, trying to get some attention for himself and his career? What do they really care, there's not a film that they're going to be paying money to go and see with him in it, and the majority probably don't even know about this documentary. So what's it all for?
If anything this is distancing the average audience member from Pheonix and the documentary, if they know about it, and what's going to happen after the release? Is Pheonix going to continue with his musical career, will he return to acting, or will he disappear? If he intends to return to the public eye then all this seems a little counter productive, he isn't exactly winning over anyone, just causing confusion.
Is this just marketing all going wrong? Is it going to end up hurting Pheonix's career or helping him? More to the point what's the impact going to be on the film, and what do you really think of it all?