Despite a curious remark from Joaquin Phoenix, Beau Is Afraid director Ari Aster wasn’t tripping acid during a Q&A Friday after a screening of the new film, a studio rep tells us.
But you could be forgiven for not being clear on whether Phoenix was serious or not.
“Thanks so much for being here. So, here’s these guys that are tripping,” Phoenix says in a video taken by an audience member Friday as the actor introduced Aster and moderator Nathan Fielder prior to the Q&A at AMC Century City 15 in Los Angeles.
Aster appeared normal enough, but Phoenix’s delivery was deadpan enough that during a Reddit AMA on Monday, an attendee at the event Friday asked Aster if he had indeed done acid.
“Before your Q&A at AMC Century City last Friday night, Joaquin [Phoenix] warned us (the audience) in his intro that you’d dropped acid shortly before,” Reddit user nick_nick81 asked. “Was this true and if so, why, that’d stress me tf out.”
Aster replied: “Yes, but my tolerance is extremely high.”
We were confused, too, so we asked a publicist for Beau is Afraid, who replied that it was just a joke. OK.
Speaking of confusion: Phoenix had been slated to introduce Aster before the screening, but he breathlessly explained that he got to the theater late because he had gone to the wrong one by accident. Aster, in turn, joked that he hadn’t expected Phoenix to make it there at all.
MovieMaker also reached out to reps for Fielder and Phoenix for clarification and did not immediately hear back.
What Is Beau Is Afraid About? Ari Aster Explains
Beau Is Afraid is pretty trippy, by the way. The movie involves a giant penis monster and was described by Aster himself as a “Jewish Lord of the Rings, but he’s just going to his mom’s house.”
To elaborate: The film follows Phoenix as a man whose journey to see his mother (Patti LuPone) is interrupted by a series of obstacles in a labyrinthian, horror-filled adventure.
Beau Is Afraid is Aster’s third feature film following 2019’s Midsommar — which, if you like trippy movies, is an incredible watch — and 2018’s Hereditary.
Beau Is Afraid is now playing in theaters.
Main Image: Joaquin Phoenix in Beau Is Afraid. Photo Credit: A24