In recent weeks, actor Joaquin Phoenix's announcement that he's decided to leave acting and pursue a career as a rapper has puzzled pretty much everybody.
And despite the fact that it seemed like he was trying to punk the world, there was plenty of evidence to back it up. There was a video of the "Walk the Line" star spitting verses at a club in Culver City, California. Reports of him signing a deal with Diddy appeared in respected trade mags like the Hollywood Reporter. There were grainy YouTube clips of him performing at a club in Las Vegas (and subsequently falling off the stage). And then supposed "demos" were posted on a MySpace page — though, to be fair, Phoenix's publicist told MTV News that she didn't think those were legit.
And now, it appears that the whole "Joaquin Phoenix is a rapper" thing might not be legit either. According to EW.com's Hollywood Insider blog, a source told the site that Phoenix's rap career is nothing more than an elaborate hoax perpetrated by brother-in-law Casey Affleck (who is reportedly filming the entire thing for a documentary) to poke fun at pompous actors and the media.
The story quotes "one source who recently worked with Phoenix" as saying that "[Phoenix] 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.'
"It's an art project for him," the source continued. "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."
Well, if this is all a joke, no one's in any hurry to reveal the punch line. Phoenix's rep didn't respond to MTV News' request for comment, and last week, when we contacted reps for Diddy about the Hollywood Reporter piece, we got no response either. So, it seems like the joke continues to be on us.
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