The Joaquin Phoenix hoax-that-fooled-nearly-nobody came full circle last night, as the Oscar-nominated Walk the Line actor returned to Late Night with David Letterman to formally apologize for posing as a mumbling version of himself as part of the mock documentary I'm Still Here.
Clean-shaven, sunglasses free, and looking trim, Phoenix told Letterman and the audience: "I mean, I think that you've interviewed many, many people and I assumed that you would know the difference between a character and a real person. I hope I didn't offend you in any way."
At issue was Phoenix's now-infamous 2009 interview on Late Night, during which he seemed barely coherent. Rumors instantly spread that the routine was all part of an act for I'm Still Here, being directed by Casey Affleck, which opened recently to generally bewildered and/or tepid reviews. Affleck had since admitted that the mumbly, bearded bit was just an act.
Letterman accepted the apology, and shot down rumors that he'd been in on it all. "Was there a script that you and I were working with?" he asked Phoenix, who replied, "No."
(Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS/Associated Press.)