Joaquin Phoenix Was Scared He’d Break Character If He Looked Directly at Nathan Lane on ‘Beau Is Afraid’

"He thought I was funny, so every time we did a take he would say, 'I can't look you directly in the eyes, or I'll break up,'" Lane said.
Beau Is Afraid
"Beau Is Afraid"

Joaquin Phoenix was scared of breaking character on “Beau Is Afraid.”

The Oscar winner had to avoid looking directly at co-star Nathan Lane while on production for the upcoming Ari Aster drama. While the plot has long been under wraps, one thing we know is that the film is about a paranoid man (Phoenix) who embarks on an epic odyssey to get home to his mother in a typically depraved and bold new film from the “Hereditary” and “Midsommar” director.

In the trailer, Lane seems to star as Beau’s kidnapper along with Amy Ryan. Stephen McKinley Henderson, Patti LuPone, and Parker Posey also star.

“It’s funny. He and I, Joaquin, we really hit it off, although we have very different sensibilities. He’s very intense, and I am just tense,” Lane said during “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” of working opposite Phoenix. “But he thought I was funny, so every time we did a take he would say, ‘I can’t look you directly in the eyes, or I’ll break up.'”

Lane added, “So just know that in every close-up and in a scene with me, he’s just looking directly at my nose.”

Originally titled “Disappointment Blvd.,” the long-in-the-works feature is slated for an April 21, 2023 release date in theaters from A24. “Midsommar” director Aster previously said his next film will be a four-hour-long “nightmare comedy” when “Disappointment” was officially announced in February 2021. Aster meanwhile helmed a 2011 short film also titled “Beau.” In that short film, a neurotic middle-aged man’s trip to visit his mother is held up when his keys are mysteriously taken from his door. He is subsequently haunted by an increasingly sinister chain of upsetting events.

Aster previously told IndieWire that his next feature is decidedly not a horror film. “It might take me a few movies before I wind back around to [horror], but I love horror and I’m sure I’ll be back,” Aster said.

He added one caveat: “Head trauma will ALWAYS have a place in my films.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix is also leading the upcoming “Joker” sequel, “Joker: Folie à Deux” alongside Lady Gaga, Catherine Keener, and Brendan Gleeson.

For all the details on “Beau Is Afraid,” click here.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.