Ari Aster and Joaquin Phoenix want to make more movies together

“Beau Is Afraid” could be the start of a beautiful friendship between indie film icons.

There are many reasons why “Beau Is Afraid” is one of the most anticipated films of the spring. Director Ari Aster delivered massive indie hits with his first two films, ‘Hereditary’ and ‘Midsommar’. And in the film’s extremely whimsical trailer, many cinephiles are curious about Aster’s ability to inject lightness into his otherwise dark style. But perhaps the biggest reason for excitement is that Aster is paired with Joaquin Phoenix, one of the most exciting actors of his generation.

The film stars Phoenix, a paranoid man who goes on a surreal odyssey trying to get back to his mother after a visit goes horribly wrong. Phoenix’s dedication to exploring deeply broken characters seems a perfect match for Aster’s warped sensibilities — and both men say they’ve worked very well together.

In a new interview with him The New York Times, Aster and Phoenix could only say good things about their collaboration. Aster explained that Phoenix’s physical commitment to the script was a refreshing experience for him as a director.

“Joaquin investigates relentlessly,” Aster said. “If something feels fake or wrong, you won’t be able to do it. It’s not even a matter of denying something—your body stops you.”

Phoenix echoed Aster’s sentiments, explaining that the instant credibility between them made them both do a better job.

“I knew I could never, ever just ‘play’ in front of Ari — I find that off-putting and difficult,” Phoenix said. “You couldn’t do that to Ari.” He would have sensed it immediately. It’s nice to know you’re working with someone like that.”

While Aster told the New York Times that his next project after “Beau Is Afraid” will “almost certainly” be a western, he hinted that he is developing another project with Phoenix. The actor explained why he was excited to continue working with Aster.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as, I can be around you for four months because I love the way you talk about these characters,” Phoenix said. “And I see that you’re willing to empower yourself to push and push back, and that’s exciting to me.”

“Beau Is Afraid” opens in select theaters on April 14th and expands nationwide on April 21st.

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