Did Joaquin Phoenix really quit acting and have a complete mental breakdown while trying to forge an unlikely hip-hop career? That's been one of the most debated questions in certain film and entertainment circles over the past two years, but now his confidants have finally admitted the entire thing was a ruse. Phoenix's new movie, 'I'm Still Here,' is billed as a documentary, but nearly everything about it is fake.

"It's a terrific performance, it's the performance of his career," explained the film's director (and Phoenix's brother-in-law) Casey Affleck to the New York Times yesterday.

Even during the film's tumultuous and poorly-reviewed premiere, the director kept tight-lipped about the prospect of creating a fake. It seems that both Affleck and Phoenix were going for sort of a modern day Andy Kaufman routine by blurring the edges between reality and fraudulent spectacle.

Affleck also revealed that Phoenix's agent was in on the stunt and strove to setup interviews such as the actor's now-infamous turn on 'Late Night With David Letterman' in order to help spread news of the actor's insanity to the public. When pressed why they kept everything a secret for so long, Affleck said that the story works much better if the viewer actively questions its reality. Otherwise, it's just a strange mockumentary.

"We wanted to create a space," he said. "You believe what's happening is real."