updated 01/22/2010 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/22/2010 AT 1:30 PM ET
Joaquin Phoenix is back in front of the camera, minus the beard and shades he sported on Late Show with David Letterman last February 2009 – and making fun of his on-air bizarre behavior.
A clean-shaven Phoenix, 35, along with Miley Cyrus and Liv Tyler, appears in a YouTube video for a charity called To Write Love on Her Arms, which is in the running to win an online competition for a $1 million grant to help suicide prevention.
The four-minute video opens with charity founder Jamie Tworkowski and Phoenix sitting in a loft-style space. Tworkowski explains during a music-video shoot with Phoenix’s band that the charity’s name was initially inspired by Phoenix – and the Magic-Marker scribblings on his arms.
Then the scene appears headed for the same awkwardness that ensued with Letterman. When Tworkowski solicits Phoenix’s help with the campaign, he receives a long, uncomfortable pause from the fidgety actor. “Are you scared?” Tworkowski finally asks him – the first sign that, at least this time around, Phoenix is acting weird on purpose.
“It should be entertaining and fun and not just a [public service announcement],” Phoenix ultimately says after a bumbling silence. “I don’t know who that person would be, though. I don’t have any friends.”
At that point, Cyrus bursts onto the scene, and proceeds to demonstrate to Phoenix, and then Tyler, how to help TWLOHA’s online campaign with the Apple laptop nearby.
In addition to the YouTube video, the charity’s Web site also has a celebrity flavor to it: James Earl Jones lends his legendary powerful voice to a video encouraging awareness about suicide, which claims 32,000 lives a year.