At a packed screening room at the offices of William Morris Endeavor last week, buyers from Hollywood’s indie distribution companies were on hand to watch Casey Affleck’s documentary I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix. Affleck is married to Phoenix’s sister, Summer, and now that distributors have seen Affleck’s depiction of his brother-in-law’s strange year of existence, the verdict is still unclear whether Phoenix’s attempt to make it as a rapper is an elaborate piece of performance art or a sad retelling of an actor’s life unraveling. As one viewer told EW.com, “there’s a lot of people who’ve now seen it and are still asking if it’s a hoax or not. Whoever buys it will know, but they aren’t telling anyone ahead of time.”
The film shows Phoenix snorting cocaine, having sex with prostitutes and simply falling apart in his quest to land a record deal. It shows him meeting with Sean Combs in a desperate plea to get him to produce his record album. Phoenix also meets with Ben Stiller who’s trying to persuade the Gladiator star to join his indie film Greenberg, despite Phoenix’s protest that he’s no longer acting. Word is that a few distributors are interested in buying the film, guessing that the question of whether or not Phoenix is playing with us all will be enough to draw audiences into theaters.