When Joaquin Phoenix last spoke with David Letterman, the bearded actor was awkwardly silent, slightly abrasive and stuck his gum underneath Dave’s desk. Well, the actor turned rapper turned star of the documentary I’m Still Here will be making a triumphant return to The Late Show With David Letterman on September 22.

He’ll be there to promote his Casey Affleck directed documentary that hit limited theaters on Friday and prominently features the infamous, viral hit video of the Feb. 11, 2009 appearance. Now that the film is in theaters though, the question remains, is the whole thing a hoax or is Phoenix for real? And how will he act on Letterman? Read our thoughts and see the original video after the jump.

The original video:

The New York Times broke the news that Phoenix will be returning to Late Night on the 22nd and also reported CBS will replay the above original interview on September 16.  Either way, it’s required viewing before seeing the fascinating documentary currently in theaters (the film is in major markets now, and expands on September 17.) While the documentary itself isn’t exactly extraordinary, it’s an incredible conversation starter. Well-respected film critics are almost totally divided on whether or not the film is real and almost everyone you talk to has their own opinion on the matter.

Personally, when I’m presented with a film, I try to buy into it for what it is and not bring in any outside baggage. And I’m Still Here is presented as totally true. Therefore, watching it straight makes Phoenix seem like a confused but sympathetic character and totally puts the Letterman appearance and everything else in a new light. And while there are certainly multiple examples and compelling arguments that Affleck and Phoenix are pulling our leg, I keep going back to this: Because the film is presented as real, and Affleck assures us that it is, is there any real value in a person totally destroying their personal reputation like Phoenix does in the film? What would be the point? For humor? An elaborate inside joke? To shine a negative light on the media machine? Any of those are possible points but, as a human, I don’t believe any of those ends justifies the means.

What do you think? Have you seen the movie? Do you think Phoenix is total nut or just a misunderstood artist?

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