CHUD’s Devin Faraci recently took part in a round-table interview with Joaquin Pheonix, and reports that he was anything but spaced or wackjobby. “While Joaquin had been strange in the past, he had never been as loquacious as he was that day — a complete contrast to his spaced-out Letterman appearance. He was talkative, funny, engaging.

“Most interesting was the fact that he never appeared to actually ramble. He’d give long answers [that] would travel a bit off topic, but would never go off course like the answers you might expect from someone who was really high. His answers were good ones, too, not just bullshit blathering, which made me wonder just what the heck we were seeing in action. This wasn’t simply an opportunity to punk a roundtable — Joaquin was delivering a really good interview. Possibly the best I’ve ever seen him give.

“At one point when asked why he had made the drastic change in his appearance he said that he needed his external change to reflect his internal change, then he looked at me” — Faraci has a beard too — “and said, ‘I don’t know what your excuse is,’ but in a very funny, very good natured way.”