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Joaquin Phoenix's 'I'm Still Here' could soon be there in theaters

June 17, 2010 | 12:19 pm
EXCLUSIVE: Film buyers were mystified/intrigued by Joaquin Phoenix's "I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix"  when they screened it last month. In the film, the actor -- er, rapper -- was seen cavorting around the screen, trying to get music industry bigwigs to pay attention to his singing, while also engaging in some pretty horrible behavior.

Now it looks like audiences will have the opportunity to be mystified/intrigued too.

Phoen Sources say that Magnolia Pictures is in final negotiations to acquire the Casey Affleck-directed documentary from seller WME Entertainment, aiming for a release in the fall.

Magnolia has worked with Phoenix before, releasing his last (final?) film, the romantic drama "Two Lovers." Release plans are still coming together, but one can imagine a multi-platform release following the theatrical one (video on-demand was an able platform for the company on "Lovers"). Magnolia declined to comment.

The new movie is a natural fit for the company; Magnolia will often take on some trickier marketing fare that the studio specialty divisions will shy away from. And this one is decidedly tricky. According to several people who've seen it, it features Phoenix having oral sex with a publicist, treating his assistants badly and rapping with no particular skill.

Of course, the entire film may be an elaborate practical joke. But that could still make for a challenge. Documentaries are already difficult sell. And the idea of Phoenix engaging in what is in many ways a 90-minute version of his infamous clip with David Letterman last year may not motivate everyone to spend $10 at the box office.

Then again, there's a lot of interest around Phoenix, and the film will no doubt be a media conversation piece. Expect plenty of publicity, as outlets will no doubt want to cover Phoenix and the film's is-it-or-isn't-it-real factor. We'd stay away from Letterman, though.

-- Steven Zeitchik and John Horn



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