Movie on Joaquin Phoenix’s lost year gets Sept. debut

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters Life!) – A movie chronicling  Joaquin Phoenix’s puzzling 2008 decision to retire from acting  and reinvent himself as a hip-hop musician will debut in U.S.  movie theaters in September — and distributors insist it is  not a mockumentary.

Independent movie distributors Magnolia Pictures said yesterday they had acquired world rights to “I’m Still Here”,  describing it as “a portrait of an artist at a crossroads.”

The movie, directed by Phoenix’s brother-in-law, actor  Casey Affleck, will open on Sept. 10.

Phoenix’s surprise retirement announcement in 2008,  followed by a bizarre TV appearance as a mumbling,  shaggy-haired guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman”,  had industry watchers wondering if his new act was a hoax.

Magnolia Pictures spokesman Matt Cowal told Reuters yesterday that “I’m Still Here” is “not a mockumentary by any  means. I think the film speaks for itself.

Cowal said Phoenix’s participation in promotional events  for the release was as yet “undetermined”.

Phoenix, 35, was nominated for an Oscar for playing country  singer Johnny Cash in the 2005 biopic “Walk the Line.’

His last  movie was 2008 drama “Two Lovers” opposite Gwyneth Paltrow.

Phoenix said he was quitting acting because he was bored  and that hip-hop had always been a passion. Last year, he said  he was working on a mostly self-produced album with help from  rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs. No album has yet been released.

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