09/16/2010 AT 8:05 PM ET
Documentary? More like mockumentary.
Joaquin Phoenix’s supposed bizarre behavior last year – including an awkward interview with David Letterman – chronicled in the film I’m Still Here was, in fact, all for show, director Casey Affleck reveals.
“It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career,” Affleck tells The New York Times, finally providing an explanation for Phoenix’s partying, impromptu rap performances and unkempt look.
“I never intended to trick anybody,” adds Affleck. “The idea of a ‘hoax’ never entered my mind.”
Phoenix’s acting wasn’t the only piece of fiction in the film. The opening shot, which appears to show the actor with his family swimming in Panama was, according to Affleck, shot in Hawaii with actors.
But one part wasn’t staged: home video of Phoenix and his siblings performing on the streets of Los Angeles like the Jackson Five.