Joaquin Phoenix Rep Insists Actor's Hip-Hop Career Is Serious

'He intends on exploring his musical interests,' reads statement released to MTV News.

There are some out there who would like you to believe that Joaquin Phoenix's [article id="1603675"]much-hyped rap career[/article] is little more than a well-crafted hoax. His publicist is not one of them.

In a statement released to MTV News on Wednesday afternoon (January 28), Phoenix rep Susan Patricola said the actor's hip-hop turn is very real and that he's not letting a few naysayers stand in the way of his rap-star dreams.

"The transition from one career to another is never seamless. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Joaquin came from a musical family, in addition to winning a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Johnny Cash," Patricola wrote in an e-mail. "He intends on exploring his musical interests despite speculative, negative or positive reactions."

But, if's Hollywood Insider blog is to be believed, Patricola's statement might not put the skepticism to rest. A report on the blog claims the actor -- along with brother-in-law Casey Affleck -- is not only playing an elaborate, Andy Kaufman-esque prank on the media, but his publicists might be in on the joke too.

According to a source "who recently worked with Phoenix," the actor sees the entire thing as "an art project" and is involving everyone in it.

"He's going full out. He probably has told his reps that he's quitting acting," the source said. "Joaquin is very smart. This is very conscious. He has a huge degree of control."

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