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Heckler riles rapper Phoenix

March 13, 2009|Associated Press

Joaquin Phoenix appears to be getting into the act of being a petulant hip-hop star.

He jumped off the stage during a short performance at the LIV nightclub in Miami Beach early Thursday morning and confronted an audience member who was heckling him. Security guards dragged him back on stage and escorted him away.

It's unknown whether the confrontation -- and his pledge to quit acting and start rapping -- was real or a put-on, but actor Casey Affleck recorded the performance on camera.

In October, Phoenix's publicist confirmed he was making the career switch. In January, he performed at a Las Vegas nightclub, and the next month he made a strange appearance on David Letterman's "Late Show." Actor Ben Stiller lampooned that appearance at the Oscars.

The bizarre spectacle in the nightclub struck many in the audience as the latest prank in an extended farce staged by Phoenix. Affleck, an Oscar-nominated actor who is also Phoenix's brother-in-law, is making a documentary about Phoenix's career shift.

"[Affleck's] camera was filming the whole time, so it makes me think he has ulterior motives," said Luis Gendron, 23, of Miami.

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