Joaquin Phoenix Returns to David Letterman with an Apology

09/22/2010 AT 08:15 PM EDT

He's sane and sorry.

More than a year after Joaquin Phoenix's awkward appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, the actor – clean-shaven and without sunglasses – returned to New York's Ed Sullivan Theater on Wednesday to apologize for his behavior.

"I mean, I think that you've interviewed many, many people and I assumed that you would know the difference between a character and a real person," he says about the now-infamous 2009 interview, in which a gum-chomping, mumbling Phoenix barely answered Letterman's questions. "I hope I didn't offend you in any way."





The appearance turned out to be an act. Director Casey Affleck recently revealed Phoenix's supposed documentary, I'm Still Here, which followed the actor during that strange time, isn't real.

"Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no," Letterman told him. "I'm telling you, it was so much fun. It was batting practice, you know what I mean? Every one of them was a dinger."

The late-night talk show also took time out to shoot down rumors he was in on the act.

"Was there a script that you and I were working with?" he asked Phoenix, who flatly responded with, "No."

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