Joaquin Phoenix mumbles his way through Late Show appearance (video)

Joaquin Phoenix was on the Late Show last night and after watching it I felt kind of sorry for him. At first I got the impression that the whole appearance was a put on, but then I could tell that he was serious and was just dealing with the situation and his own insecurity as Dave was taking the piss out of him.

Phoenix came out wearing dark glasses and didn’t say much, and Dave sort of lit into him trying to get some kind of humor out of the situation, saying “You look different than I remember you.” At one point Dave asked “What can you tell us about your days with the Unabomber?”

The most Joaquin said was that he didn’t really know why he was quitting acting or if he would go back, and that he was working on his music, which he described as “hip hop.” When people in the audience laughed at that, Phoenix asked “What do you have them on? What do you gas them up with?”

Letterman asked Phoenix when he could see his new hip hop career take off and he said he’d “love to come on this show and perform” to which Dave countered by saying “that seems unlikely.”

At one point Joaquin stuck his gum under Letterman’s desk.

Letterman joked at the end of the interview “Joaquin I’m sorry you couldn’t be here tonight.”

You have to wonder whose idea it was to have Phoenix go on Letterman to promote his film. He may have been contractually obligated to promote it, but producers should have known better.

For comparison, here’s a link to a clip of Joaquin on Letterman three years ago telling a story about a rat in his house. And here’s a clip of Joaquin on Oprah with Reese Witherspoon, his co-star in Walk The Line. He was a little guarded, but he was funny, topical, and very honest about how he works hard to be emotionally honest and genuine in his work. Reese praised his professionalism and preparation for the role of Johnny Cash, for which he ultimately received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe. Phoenix admitted on Oprah he has never seen any of his films, saying he didn’t want it to interfere with his craft and that he was worried that he might take short cuts in his acting if he started to see the end result.

This is an incredibly talented guy who is a critically acclaimed, committed actor. Something snapped and he’s either on something, withdrawing into himself, or both.

Here are photos of Joaquin and Gwyneth Paltrow at a screening of Two Lovers in NY last night. The photo agency included a close up picture of Paltrow’s wrist to show she’s wearing a Kabbalah bracelet.

Credit: Fame

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29 Responses to “Joaquin Phoenix mumbles his way through Late Show appearance (video)”

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  1. vale says:

    So let’s just say he’s not a people pleaser.

  2. geronimo says:

    It’s kind of funny – since he’s an actor, can’t quite work out if he’s genuinely disconnected here or just playing a role. But he really does seem to be done with the movie biz.

  3. daisy424 says:

    Dear Lord, what happened to him?

    WTF fashion decade did Gwennie walk out of?

  4. YoMomma says:

    This was very hard to watch. Very awkward. His whole family is a bit bizarre. It’s like there’s a genetic disposition to self destruct. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up like his talented brother River.

  5. Mrs. Darcy says:

    Do you know what, aside from the obvious, that Joaquin was not engaging and being the obliging chat show guest, all I get from watching this is what a complete d*** Letterman is. It reminds me of American Splendour, which featured his interviews with Harvey Pekar. They were uncomfortable and Letterman got lots of laughs for exploiting the guy’s oddball character. For whatever reason Joaquin is not wanting to operate on that showbiz level, and I can totally see how the idiotic laughing of the audience would drive him further into his shell. All Dave did was taunt him, why should he make an effort? If he is depressed or whatever I can just see why sh** like this would not matter to him at all. Or maybe I am totally off and it’s all an act, maybe that’s what Letterman thinks, who knows. I just thought Letterman blew it, pummeling away with inane questions when he probably could have got something meaningful out of him if he tried at all. But no, the game wasn’t being played the way he wanted so he turns immature and vicious, I used to love Dave but stuff like this shows what a small person he really is.

  6. Susan says:

    I’d say a combination of drugs, booze and mental illness. Not necessarily in that order. Sad. I loved him in Walk The Line.

  7. xxx says:

    He’s gorked out of his mind. Thank goodness Letterman handled it well and was busing his hump.

    he’s gorked out of his mind. Quite sad.

  8. janey says:

    The bloke is a mess and needs to take a gap year or two. He didn’t *have* to appear on Letterman.

  9. Sauronsarmy says:

    I’m pretty sure its all an act. Isn’t he making some sort of “mockumentary” with Casey Affleck? It’s a funny interview anyway.

  10. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    He’s SO on drugs. The sunglasses, not caring much about his appearance, the slurring, mumbley stuff. He can barely talk. Too bad, I really like(d) him.

  11. Maritza says:

    Letterman is so cool, I love the comment he makes about the uni bomber… so funny!

  12. Feebee says:

    Had to laugh. Except the only laughs I got were from Dave. He went pretty easy on him considering JP was being such a unprofessional prat. He wasn’t on any substance, he was totally lucid, he was just being an a*hole. A shame a genuine talent has degraded into this. If he wanted out of acting and public life, claiming a hip-hop career and being documented is a strange way of doing it. He’s a douche.

  13. puzzled says:

    Funny can be sad, but sad is never funny – and I can’t decide which was going on with Phoenix. He did seem lucid – I agree with Feebee he was not on any substance. He seemed to hate every minute of the interview and was behaving badly as a result, like a little kid. Doesn’t he have handlers? Where is the brother? If this is a “hoax,” it’s just silly. If it isn’t, there’s something bad going on.

  14. Sarah says:

    I got three words for you: Stoned as hell!

    That behaviour can’t be explained otherwise. He can’t conciously behave that way! Anyways… I loved David in this! His lines were hilarious!! 😀

  15. xiaoecho says:

    He is so good looking, what a shame about the beard. He seems a bit paranoid all round lately – Letterman could have cut him some slack and brought him out of himself. It was uncomfortable to watch

  16. cara says:

    Mrs. Darcy… nailed it.

  17. Susan says:

    What’s REALLY sad to me is how there are those on here commenting “he’s not on any substance, he’s being a brat” or whatever.

    This man has had a LONG battle with alcohol. And, now I would highly suspect pills are in the mix. He looks like Jim Morrison right before he died.

    I hope one day we don’t wake up and read that he overdosed. He’s going downhill. Kind of makes me mad at Casey for participating in it.

  18. xiaoecho says:

    Susan……….you’re on to something. Wonder if it’s mental illness? He just hasn’t looked ‘right’ for some time now. The alcohol could have been self medicating. Also looking like a Bluegrass singer while proclaiming you’re a hip hop artist is odd.

  19. Susan says:

    With HIS upbringing and all he’s been through (witnessing his brother DIE before his eyes) —- yeah, I’d say he’s got some mental illness going on. And, the booze/pills could be self medicating. Or he could be a dual diagnosis — mental illness/addict.

    Regardless — I’ve read some other gossip sites making light of this — insinuating it’s all a hoax.

    I disagree.

  20. xiaoecho says:

    He can still work though

  21. Susan says:

    And, remember Jim Morrison also gave up music to “write poetry” right before he died? And, his so called poetry got horrid reviews.

  22. xxx says:

    Actually Jim Morrison’s music was his poetry. He wrote the songs. He always wanted to do poetry and expressed it in his music. It’s detailed extensively in the “No one here gets out alive” classic book about him. He also studied poetry in college.

    Regarding those that think he’s not on drugs, I think these people have never been around drug addicts. Paranoia, odd behavior, rubbing his clothing, thinking people are making fun of him…drug addict. Then there’s the whole frog jumping out of head head incident a few years ago.

  23. Susan says:

    Well, he pretty much quit recording with The Doors and decided to just write. I’ve got the movie The Doors and have watched it about a million times. I know he studied poetry in college, etc. And, he was a “poet” —

    My point was — he was sinking deeper and deeper into his addiction – and his “quitting music to solely write poetry” is a comparison to JQ “quitting acting to do rap”.

  24. vxxxa says:

    im afraid hes on drugs. i hope not though

  25. TxBreed says:

    I agree with Mrs Darcy!!!

  26. xiaoecho says:

    xxx……..frog jumping out of head incident? What’s that all about?

  27. L.S. says:

    Xiaoecho, in an interview Joaquin asked the interviewer if there was a “large frog in his hair”, which he claimed was crawling around his head. He appeared to be dead serious when he asked this question. Poor guy, I think he’s really lost it this time. It makes you wonder why so many immensly talented people are so disturbed.

  28. lú melendez says:

    Eu adoro ele, é uma das razões da minha vida,ele é tudo de bom,e merece ser feliz fazendo aquilo que gosta,si ele é feliz cantando!Tenho certeza que vai fazer tão bem, ou melhor como cantor,assim como foi como ator.Si temos um sonho temos que correr atrás,sem si importar com que os outros pensam,é justamente o que ele tá fazendo.Lhe desejo boa sorte e continui assim como você é:Mande todo mudo si fuder e corra atrás do seu sonho J.LOVE YOU,BEAUTIFUL JOAQUIN-BRASIL