"Two Lovers" director James Gray is as baffled about Joaquin Phoenix‘s becoming a hip-hop singer as the rest of us are.
"If it is an act, it’s the most committed act I’ve ever seen in my life," Gray told ABC News Radio.
He said he could tell Phoenix was tired during the filming of "Lovers," his final film before his retirement from acting.
But when he heard about the actor’s retirement, he went to see him to talk about it.
He drove up to Phoenix’s home because the actor’s phone was disconnected. "He said, ‘I don’t want to act anymore, I’ve been doing it for 30 years and if you did something for 30 years, you’d want to quit too.’ "
Now, Gray is questioning his role in Phoenix’s new direction
"Two Lovers" features a bad freestyle rap performance by Phoenix, eerily similar to his disastrous real-life rap debut. Gray revealed to ABC Radio that Phoenix was imitating him for that scene — Gray had played some of his youthful rap stuff for the actor.
"It turns out that Joaquin is imitating me in a lot of the movie. He said, ‘I want to do that, I want to steal from that, I want to do the rap that you used to do.’ I said, ‘OK.’
"And now I’m seeing him do this thing, and I feel like I’ve ruined Joaquin Phoenix for the world."
Well, right now, it does kinda look like that.
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Photos: Top, Joaquin’s new look; bottom, James Gray, left, Vinessa Shaw, Gwyneth Paltrow and Joaquin Phoenix at a screening of "Two Lovers." WireImage