Director says Joaquin Phoenix is ‘making a fool of himself’

Joaquin Phoenix

At first, Two Lovers director James Gray blamed himself for Joaquin Phoenix’s crazy unabomber hobo rapper act. He claimed several weeks ago that Joaquin used Gray’s own attempt at a music career as an illustration that Phoenix copied, sort of. But Gray isn’t blaming himself anymore.

He claims that Joaquin is “making a fool of himself” with this act, and that he’s not acting this way just as some kind of whacked-out, stupid performance art. Gray says, “if this is a hoax, then it’s the most elaborate thing that I have ever seen.” He also says that if it is all just an act, Joaquin needs to come back to acting, but if he’s serious about it, he needs help. Agreed.

‘Two Lovers’ director James Gray has hit out at the film’s star Joaquin Phoenix – insisting the actor is “making a fool of himself” by launching a rap career.

Phoenix recently announced he has quit acting in order to become a hip-hop-star and has since made a string of bizarre public appearances. Last month (Feb09) the actor sported a scraggly beard, hid behind sunglasses, chewed gum and gave brief answers as he promoted Two Lovers on Late Show With David Letterman.

And Gray is furious with Phoenix for failing to cooperate with the TV host – because his strange actions drew public attention away from the film. He says, “It’s like, Letterman was trying to get the movie out there, but the only thing that’s out there now is a crazy person with a beard making a fool of himself!”

Internet gossips have speculated that Phoenix’s turn as a rapper is a hoax, and the rumours were fuelled when it was revealed the star’s brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, is filming his musical efforts for a documentary.

But Gray fears the Oscar nominee is taking his new project seriously.

He adds, “I’ve seen him in his house, and he has his own recording studio that he built right there. So if this is a hoax, then it’s the most elaborate thing that I have ever seen.”

“If it is shown to be a hoax, then that’s great, because Joaquin will come back to acting. And he is something special. But if it isn’t, you know, I think he needs, well, help.”

[From PR-Inside]

I’m still erring on the side of Joaquin doing whacked-out performance art. He probably thinks he’s being very highbrow and Andy Kaufman-esque, but he’s just losing a lot of people’s affection and good will. It doesn’t work for Phoenix. If his director is coming out against him, can Hollywood be far behind? What makes me sick is that Joaquin was one of the most talented young actors out there. Too bad he won’t be working again any time soon.

Here’s Joaquin crazying it up while out shopping with a mystery woman at high-end lingerie boutique ‘Kiki De Montparnasse’ on Melrose Ave last Thursday. Images thanks to INF News and Features.

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23 Responses to “Director says Joaquin Phoenix is ‘making a fool of himself’”

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  1. Genevieve says:


    His insanity is the most entertaining thing I’ve seen since…well, since I don’t know when. I mean LOOK AT HIM and don’t laugh hysterically. Come on. I dare you.

  2. Kristen says:

    Sorry but I don’t see anyone’s possible mental sitution or substance abuse problem entertaining. Even if he is an actor. I’m sure anyone who has known or loved someone in that situation would agree.

    Very sad to see any person fall. He’s an amzing talent. I hope he gets help.

  3. Elle says:

    I totally loved this guy, and now he’s kind of creeping me out. I’m completely confused. Just shave.. please?

  4. Susan says:

    I think it is incredibly SAD. This man obviously has some major issues. Addiction, mental illness, etc. If he thinks he’s REALLY going to become a “rapper” —- he is delusional at best.

    I’ve never bought it was a hoax.

  5. Eileen Yover says:

    He seems like one of those extremely talented but mentally “out here” guys. He lost his brother on the street of LA from a drug overdose and the rest of his family seems a little “out there” too.
    I think he’s making people think he’s making a hoax, but he’d also like to make a success at it as well. This is the point where they get so successful they think they can do whatever and still be accepted….aka Tom Cruise Syndrome.
    I was just started to think he was hot too! Nevamind…..

  6. katymary says:

    I think he may be suffering from some kind of manic episode and needs medical attention. There is something in this behavior that smacks of mental illness and requires compassion, not judgement. Let’s hope his friends and familiar are aware and involved.

  7. irl says:

    Maybe he’s going thru a similar thing Mickey Rourke went thru. Shaky disposition & outlook to begin with then disillusioned about the industry, anger at the industry. Instead of boxing, he’s doing rap. At least his face won’t get as messed up, he can just shave then make his come back.

  8. hesus says:

    his rap career choice is bizarre and on top of that, why would he fake mental illness?

    the director isn’t being to sensitive to the fact that Joaquin might be mentally ill…as it has been suggested by many…so does the director know something we dont? or is he just a selfish jerk who is concerned about his movie making money?

  9. ash says:

    The chick in the third picture looks like she’s running for her life, and with good reason.

  10. boomchakaboom says:

    I can’t believe this is the same guy who portrayed Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.

  11. Bobby the K says:


    I’m going with hoax.

    The hole in his crotch looks intentional.

    Lots of artists dabble in other mediums. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell are both respected painters. Many actors have a music thing going, there are musicians who like to try acting etc.

    What I think is that he is a smart guy who is saying of his celebrity ‘I’m not playing this game, and I’m making up my own rules.’
    I think he’s trying to act ‘outside the box’ as it were.

    But I don’t think it’s really working. A good many people aren’t buying the charade, and are laughing at (not with) him.
    But he has a lot invested in this and has to keep it going.

    Funny how the whole ‘performance art’
    genre never really catches on,
    wonder why…?

  12. Feebee says:

    Director was being kind when he said he’s making a fool of himself.

    Extreme self indulgence v mental illness. Hmmm, if it’s the latter he needs new friends. If it’s the former he needs a kick up the butt.

  13. Brown Sugar says:

    So what if he wants to be a rapper. Why does he have to be mental because “we” put him into a box as he can be only one thing. We dont say Shaq is mental because he wants/wanted to be a rapper. we just said he couldn’t rap. I believe it is a hoax, but if it isnt who cares we are not going to die because he does not act anymore.

  14. praline pecan says:

    It was his father who died of a drug overdose in front of the Viper Room, wasn’t it? I think he’s had some kind of schizophrenic break and he needs mental help. I’m surprised nobody’s doing anything about it really.

  15. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    His brother River died outside the Viper Room.

    He’s mad in the head – whether it’s genuine mental illness or standard issue celebrity delusion – it’s just a bit weird and not terribly interesting thus far. I feel like I’m waiting for the punchline.

  16. Rachum says:

    I think he just needs a bath and a good cup of tea. He should come round to mine and I’ll get him sorted. I think Joaquin is still an exceptional actor regardless.

  17. Kristen says:

    It was his older brother ~ he died in his arms. It was only a few days after Joaquin’s birthday. And the 911 call was publized for weeks which drove Joaquin out of acting for years.

    I truly think he needs help!

  18. Trey says:

    It really is amazing how much better people look with some basic grooming. He used to be hot…

  19. Aspen says:

    A tendency toward addiction is often genetic. I seriously hope that’s not what’s going on here.

    I would hate to see another talented and lovely Phoenix destroy his life with drugs.

  20. Amy says:

    He has more problems in his past than his brother’s death — the Phoenix kids lived in a cult for some time, as they had hippie parents who were involved with it.

    I think River said he was raped at a young age whilst in the cult, which was common with the kids there. I’m sure all of the Phoenix kids were affected in some way, either directly or indirectly.

  21. Dani says:

    What if (and here’s where I play devil’s advocate) director James Gray is in on it, too? I mean, why would he have let him go on David Letterman. He had to know he would act that way. I still feel like something’s up. I’m sorry if I’m wrong.

  22. Elanenergy says:

    This just isn’t funny at all. I used to have so much respect for Joaquin, but IF this is some kind of perverse “performance art” then he’s not very smart, because someone dies from suicide ever 16 minutes in this country and mental illness isn’t a laughing matter. Even Kaufman himself couldn’t get away with this in 2009. Our culture doesn’t laugh at insanity, nor should we. If he genuinely needs psychiatric help, I wish his dumb ass family would get him some, because this should be a private matter.