A few years ago Joaquin Phoenix went through this total oddball phase. He began acting like a fool publicly, and generally making an ass out of himself. The inevitable conclusion of his shenanigans was the "documentary" I'm Still Here, directed by Casey Affleck. The two haven't worked together since, but now they're teaming up for something that isn't just a publicity stunt.
THR reports that Affleck will direct Phoenix in an adaptation of Robert Olmstead's Western novel, Far Bright Star. Penned by newcomer Damien Ober, the story centers on aging lawman Napoleon Childs (Phoenix) leading a mission to track down Pancho Villa. Here's the synopsis:
"In 1916, the aging Napoleon Childs assembles a cavalry to search for the elusive bandit Pancho Villa in Mexico. The ragtag group includes Napoleon’s brother, Xenophon, and America’s eager export of losers, deadbeats, cutthroats, dilettantes, and murderers. Riding on horseback for months at a time, Napoleon finds himself and his men always just a few hours behind Villa, whose posse navigates the unforgiving terrain with ease. When a band of marauders descend upon the group, many of Napoleon’s men are brutally slaughtered and Napoleon himself is left beaten and emotionally broken. After the attack, Napoleon proclaims to his brother that the person he was died out there. But this revelation doesn’t last long, and soon Napoleon sets out on yet another date with destiny on the open plains with his followers."
Affleck has eyed other directorial projects but nothing has come together yet. He did star in Andrew Dominik's excellent The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and also Ain't Them Bodies Saints, so perhaps he picked up a trick or two about the genre.