File this under: “No Shit.”
Ever since the actor announced he was ditching his career in movies to try to make it as a rap artist, speculation has flown wildly about what, exactly, the two-time Oscar nominee might be thinking. Following his widely panned three-song debut as a rapper at a Las Vegas nightclub on Jan. 16 — a shambling performance that concluded with the actor falling off the stage — two competing theories emerged: Either Phoenix is perpetrating an elaborate Andy Kaufman-style hoax (with an assist from his friend and brother-in-law Casey Affleck, who’s ostensibly shooting a documentary about his career transition), or he’s truly lost his marbles. The truth, it seems, is closer to the former. “He said, ‘It’s a put-on. I’m going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it,’” says one source who recently worked with Phoenix.
“It’s an art project for him,” says a source. “He’s going full out. He probably has told his reps that he’s quit acting. Joaquin is very smart. This is very conscious. He has a huge degree of control.” (Source)
Here’s the thing Wack-Keen (the rap name I’m using for you) Kaufman didn’t go blabbing about his every move when he took on a project like this. Do you think Tony Clifton would have been nearly as hilarious or irritating if Kaufman had come and said, “I’m going to retire from acting and work on my music career as an over-the-top, abrasive lounge singer.” The answer is no. If you were truly dedicated to this “act” or whatever the fuck you’re “planning,” you wouldn’t let these things leak. This actually could have been surprising and interesting if you kept your yap shut and really played up the career-switch, drug-addicted-I’m-a-lunatic act. Basically, you lack the balls that Kaufman had to stay dedicated to his characters.
But Casey Affleck still rules.