September 22nd, 2010
12:40 PM ET
Just before Joaquin Phoenix heads back to “Letterman,” his brother-in-law – and the director of the Joaquin Phoenix mockumentary (as we're choosing to call it) “I’m Still Here” – swung by “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to explain (again) what's really going on in the film.
( It'll be interesting to see how Phoenix addresses the cinematic situation on "Letterman" tonight, since Affleck’s been the one doing the talking.)
In Affleck’s view, the confusion surrounding the film was caused by most viewers not assuming that it wasn’t a real documentary, as he thought everyone would. The fact that the actors all played characters using their real names didn't help matters.
“We wanted to make a movie that would help people suspend their disbelief,” Affleck told Leno. “They could go to the theater and experience it and wonder if it was real or not. I wanted them to think it was real while they were watching it, but I assumed that when it was over they would understand that it wasn’t real. Like the WWF.”
The intent when Affleck and crew started shooting in 2008 was to make a movie “about an actor who has been doing this for his whole life and he decides he wants to try something else…so he decides he’s going to be a hip-hop musician and he quits acting,” he said. So while it carried a resemblance to a documentary, “It’s not a documentary because all the people in the movie are acting,” Affleck clarified. “I would just call it a movie.”
Perhaps part of the reason why Affleck never thought people would take the movie seriously after viewing it is because no one seemed to be concerned about Phoenix during what looked like a serious breakdown.
“I never got calls [about Phoenix],” Affleck said. “It’s weird. Afterward, the movie comes out and the critics like to say, this is crazy, this is disturbing, this is sick and we should be worried about him, but when it was happening, people were happy just to mock him."
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