Phoenix Gives Trainwreck Interview on Letterman

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009  |  Updated 3:36 PM EDT
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Phoenix Gives Trainwreck Interview on Letterman

CBS

Joaquin Phoenix - barely there.

If a talk show host thanks you for not showing up, it's probably a sign that your interview didn't go well.

Joaquin Phoenix appeared so dazed and confused when he debuted his unabomber-inspired facial hair and matching glasses on David Letterman's "Late Show" last night that the talk show host couldn't hold back from laughing and taking a few shots and the "Two Lovers" star.

"Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight," Letterman quipped at the end of the rambling, five minute interview.

The stony-faced, beard-bedecked actor chewed gum throughout the entire segment and mumbled his way through answers -- delivering a string of nearly incoherent one- and two-word responses to Letterman's questions. At times, he wouldn't even provide an answer.

Phoenix would often inexplicably gaze out at the audience through his dark sunglasses, fidgeting nervously with his hands.

"You've got a nice beard going. ... How is that -- the beard?" Letterman asked.

"In what way?" Phoenix asked.

"Is it comfortable? Is it itchy? Are you pleased with it?"

"I'm OK with it, but now you're making me feel weird about it. Is there something wrong?" he mumbled.

Letterman asked him to repeat his mumbled response and quipped,"I can't be the first one to make you feel weird about it."

Phoenix, who said he is retired from acting, also blanked on the names of his film co-stars and then said he didn't know what clip to set up. Letterman openly laughed at Phoenix as he bumbled his way through the interview but became annoyed.

"I'll come to your house and chew gum," Letterman said about Phoenix's gum-chewing.

"Okay, I don't have to chew gum," said the actor as he took the gum out of his mouth and affixed it the the underside of Letterman's desk.  "I won't chew the gum."

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