Casey Affleck Nearly Broke After 'I'm Still Here' Disaster
Article By Will Leitch
The fiasco that is "I'm Still Here," the mock-documentary aboutJoaquin Phoenix's apparently fake meltdown over the last two years, has been all-encompassing. The film was a box-office flop: It has earned only $259,000 to date after months of pre-release hype. It's been eviscerated by critics and has been generally received as a smug movie-star kiss-off to a gossip-obsessed public.
Phoenix has taken his fair share of hits -- and he'll surely take more when he returns to David Letterman's show tonight -- but the film's true casualty might be its director, fellow actor Casey Affleck.
Affleck, also Phoenix's brother-in-law, tells The Daily Telegraphthat the two-year odyssey of making the film nearly bankrupted him and left his own career in ruins.
"Having something at stake is a great motivator and once this thing became public for me that was very helpful because there was no question: I had to see it through, no matter how long it took. I went broke. I hadn't worked for more than a year, and I was pouring money into the movie. I had to stop for a month to do The Killer Inside Me. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to finish the film - I was out of money. There was a lot at stake financially and, if we had left [the hoax] there, it would have been very damaging to Joaquin's career."
If Phoenix can survive Letterman's interrogation tonight, Hollywood seems eager to welcome him back. He has already been attached to several upcoming plum roles, including a potential Oscar-bait turn as J. Edgar Hoover's lover Clyde Tolson in Clint Eastwood's biopic "Hoover." (Leonardo DiCapriois expected to play Hoover.)
Affleck has been less fortunate. Despite receiving excellent notices for his roles in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (starring opposite Brad Pitt) and "Gone Baby Gone"(directed by his brother Ben), Affleck doesn't have quite the cache that Phoenix has. He's acted in only one film since 2007 and is currently in production on Ridley Scott's "The Kind One," about an amnesiac mob soldier. But if you saw his appearance on Jay Leno last night, it's obvious Casey is deep into damage control.
At least matters are going well for one member of Casey's family: Brother Ben is bathing in the good notices and big opening grosses for his movie "The Town," and some are even whispering that the film could be an Oscar contender. If Casey needs a career boost in the next year or two, he doesn't have to look far for help.