Sep 22, 2010 9:37 PM by Alison Haynes
NEW YORK (AP) - Actor Joaquin Phoenix returned to David
Letterman's "Late Show" on Wednesday to apologize for his wacky
appearance last year that turned out to be an elaborate piece of
"You've interviewed many, many people and I assumed that you
would know the difference between a character and a real person, so
- but I apologize," Phoenix said. "I hope I didn't offend you in
No offense taken, Letterman replied. The chance to lob jokes at
Phoenix was like batting practice, he said.
"Every one of them was a dinger," he said.
Phoenix was clean-cut and shaven Wednesday, without the shaggy
beard, unruly hair and sunglasses he wore on Feb. 11, 2009, when he
told a befuddled Letterman that he was giving up acting for a rap
career. Describing that appearance on Wednesday, Letterman said it
was "like you slipped and hit your head in the tub."
Instead, Phoenix was playing a role for filmmaker friend Casey
Affleck. The fake documentary on Phoenix's "career change,"
called "I'm Still Here," just hit theaters.
At Letterman's urging, Phoenix made clear that the talk-show
host was not in on the joke.
"We'd hoped to come on a talk show," Phoenix said with a
laugh, "and I was looking for a beat down, and I got one ... I
want to thank you for that."
Affleck, who appeared with Jay Leno on the "Tonight" show
Tuesday, said no one from Hollywood called to express concern about
Phoenix when he was acting strangely.
"Afterward, the movie comes out, the critics like to say `this
is crazy, this is disturbing, this is sick,"' he said. "But while
it's happening, people were happy just to mock him and make fun of
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