Ari Aster pulled an epic April Fool’s prank on moviegoers expecting to see a screening of Midsommar but instead were treated to a screening of his newest film Beau Is Afraid starring Joaquin Phoenix.
The filmmaker and Phoenix introduced the film to the audience at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in New York. At the end of the three-hour screening, Emma Stone moderated a Q&A with Aster to talk about the film.
Aster talked about working with Phoenix and says that “everything has to feel honest” with the actor and likes to have several takes. The director shared an incident from the set of the film where Phoenix fainted while Patti LuPone, who plays his mother in the pic, was shooting a scene.
“There was a scene that was very intense for Patti and it was a shot that was on Patti, it was not on him and all of a sudden he fell out of frame,” Aster recalled. “I was really pissed ’cause it was a really good take. It felt confusing so I went around the corner and he was collapsed.”
Aster continued, “I knew it was bad because he was letting people touch him and people were tending to him and he was allowing it. The point is that he fainted in somebody else’s take, he wasn’t on camera and he was helping them, he was in it for them to the point where he collapsed. It’s very poetic that he collapsed in somebody else’s shot.”
A24’s Beau Is Afraid revolves around “a paranoid man [who] embarks on an epic odyssey to get home to his mother.” The film also stars Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan, Kylie Rogers, Denise Ménochet, Parker Posey, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Richard Kind, Hayley Squires and Michael Gandolfini, among others. The film is set to debut in theaters on April 21.