So Letterman Did Know Joaquin Phoenix Was Faking It

This story lay dormant on the internet for a couple of weeks, before being roused today in light of Casey Affleck’s recent confession, but according to Letterman writer Bill Scheft, the chat show host knew full well that Joaquin was faking his descent into rag-tag delusion for the documentary film I’m Still Here.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview between Scheft and the website Nuvo:

Nuvo: Tell me what it was like backstage after the Joaquin Phoenix appearance.

Scheft: First of all, that was all an act.

Nuvo: Even Dave’s part of it?

Scheft: Yeah. Think Andy Kaufman without shaving. That’s what he was doing. And Dave knew about it and Dave loved it because he could play along. He could do whatever he wanted with it. And he did, and it was great television. But I will take credit for the line, “I think I owe Farrah Fawcett an apology.” That line was mine. I gave that to him during the break. Dave loves that. He had a ball. He likes anything that’s good television, and he knew that’s good television. I’ve told people that (everyone was in on the joke), and not only don’t people believe me, they tell me that I’m wrong and that (Phoenix) is a schizophrenic and he needs help and he’s going to end up like his brother. I said no. I saw the segment notes. It’s an act. I saw Ben Affleck’s brother taping the whole thing from offstage.

I enjoyed the whole interview with Scheft, not just this piece. Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter for the tip.

Of course, this means the upcoming appearance of Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman has now been derived of any kind of implicit drama. First we hear Phoenix is actually going to appear “as his sane self”, now that Letterman was in on the act… what’s left? Some kind of smug We Gotcha double act?

I sincerely hope they find something else to talk about.