Ari Aster begged Joaquin Phoenix to join Beau Is Afraid cast

Ari Aster begged Joaquin Phoenix to join Beau Is Afraid cast

Ari Aster spent six months begging Joaquin Phoenix to star in 'Beau Is Afraid'.

The 36-year-old filmmaker has helmed the surrealist horror film and was desperate to cast the Oscar-winning actor in his movie.

Discussing his first meeting with Phoenix, Ari told Variety at the movie's Los Angeles premiere on Monday (10.04.23): "You get on your hands and knees and beg. He's the best. He's the greatest. He's the prince. And those eyes. He could be so naked, so exposed, and he's funny. He's a funny guy."

The director continued: "It's when I first saw 'I'm Still Here' that I knew I needed to work with this guy.

"One, it's such a funny film, and two, that performance is really a brilliant comic performance. But it's also a gesture that movie is suicidal. What he was doing with his own name there is so funny and crazy and sick. It's like a sick thing to do. Since then, I've known I've wanted to work with him."

'Beau Is Afraid' is the biggest budget Aster has had for a film and explained how he felt the "pressure" of making a movie that is different from his previous efforts.

The 'Midsommar' director told The Hollywood Reporter: "It's so much pressure.

"Things weigh on you, like the money weighs on you, the clock weighs on you because the window of time is always closing. It can be very hard to stay in an open place where you don't stop playing, so it was nice to build a system with Joaquin where we kept coming back to the work.

"Joaquin is so committed and so engaged that the (film) kept coming back to life, which isn't to say that it was dead, but it stayed alive in a way that was very, very exciting. It was a challenge in the best way."