NEWS > ENTERTAINMENT > JOAQUIN PHOENIX COMPLETELY LOSES HIS MIND; LETTERMAN SCORES HIT
JOAQUIN PHOENIX COMPLETELY LOSES HIS MIND; LETTERMAN SCORES HIT
February 13 2009
New York, NY – David Letterman has had his fair share of unusual guests. From Andy Kaufman attacking Jerry Lawler on set, to Crispin Glover nearly kicking the talk show host in the head, to Farah Fawcett coming down from the moon to make an appearance he has had no shortage of odd occurrences with celebrity guests. Last night’s appearance by two-time Academy award nominee Joaquin Phoenix will no doubt rank amongst those dazzling performances as the actor descends further into his deepening insanity, or carefully contrived persona.
Phoenix, who has retired from acting to pursue a musical career, was on the show to promote his newest film ‘Two Lovers’ in which he stars alongside Gwyneth Paltrow. Phoenix, appearing with a large beard and sunglasses, was largely unresponsive to Letterman’s questions, inquired about the sanity of the audience, and placed his chewed gum under Letterman’s desk. Letterman played Phoenix to the hilt, lamenting the fact that the actor was unable to show up for his own appearance.
“Letterman has definitely has his share of odd appearances and while this one makes the list it’s far from the strangest. That would have to go to Crispin Glover because there is little that rivals nearly knocking out the house with a roundhouse,” said Scrape TV Entertainment analyst Tracey Temple. “This is in the realm of Andy Kaufman where you aren’t quite sure whether it’s real or not but it’s endlessly entertaining either way. If the guy is coming apart at the seams at least he’s doing it in the most entertaining way possible.”
Of course Joaquin isn’t the only famous member of the Phoenix clan to come completely collapse. Elder brother River died after ingesting a lethal combination of drugs at a nightclub in 1993. Fittingly it was Joaquin who was with River at the time and was the one who placed the 9-1-1 call.
“River’s collapse was a lot different of course. I mean he literally collapsed and then of course died which so far hasn’t happened to Joaquin but if he keeps going like this you never know,” continued Temple. “If it is a put on, and the way Letterman played it seemed so, it’s either a stroke of genius or nothing. It is fun to watch these kinds of things whether it’s real or not but you usually end up with a more exciting conclusion when it’s real.”
Real or not the event has brought a great deal of attention to both Phoenix and Letterman both of whom have struggled with popularity in recent years. This latest incident, with Letterman at his sarcastic best and Phoenix at his most indulgent best is likely to spark fresh interest in the pair.
“Letterman has never really taken off in the 11:30 spot the way everyone expected he would and any boost in ratings is a good thing, even if it’s temporary. As for Phoenix he probably did more good for ‘Two Lovers’ than a rational and coherent appearance ever could have done. It’s always tough to sell movies to people when they don’t actually want to see them and ‘Two Lovers’ is exactly that,” continued Temple. “Nobody in the film has any real box office appeal and the movie, up until this point had no exposure. A normal appearance on the second banana talk show would have done nothing but his performance undoubtedly sold some tickets.”
The film also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Isabella Rossellini. It is expected that the releases of ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’, ‘The International’, and ‘Friday the 13th’ will dominate the box office this weekend but the unexpected dose of crazy will likely do well for the smaller scale ‘Two Lovers’.
‘Most people looking for crazy this weekend will be going to ‘Friday the 13th’ but there may be a trickle over,” continued Temple. “Crazy never made Andy Kaufman or Crispin Glover into stars but you never know. Of course if it’s real than that’s an entirely different thing. One would hope that it won’t end up like a Michael Jackson kind of insanity that just burns on and on, but rather some kind of spectacular mind blowing collapse. Like River.”