Somehow, despite overwhelming evidence that Phoenix's behavior was a stunt, we wanted to believe. But in an article published in the New York Times yesterday, director Casey Affleck admits that I'm Still Here is "performance art." Like, all of it. Even the Super-8 home-video footage of Affleck's siblings as kids "was actually shot in Hawaii with actors, then run back and forth on top of an old videocassette recording of Paris, Texas to degrade the images."
Casey explains, "I never intended to trick anybody… The idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind."
This means that the Letterman appearance was a hoax, the marketing was a hoax, that every one of Phoenix's weird, drawling public appearances for over a year were were calculated efforts to drum up attention in the project, or as Casey Affleck would call it, art. Well, they tricked everyone — even Roger Ebert, which is no easy feat. Pretty impressive for the guys who made the Blair Witch of bored rich people in Hollywood.