Joaquin Phoenix is a famously intense actor, having burned up the screen in everything from Gladiator to Joker (for which he won an Oscar). Combine him with director Ari Aster, responsible for the critically acclaimed, macabre horrors Hereditary and Midsommar, and one can expect fireworks.
Step forward new movie Beau is Afraid (previously titled Disappointment Blvd). Aster's latest is billed as a three-hour "nightmare comedy" that traverses the life of Phoenix's central character. The exact synopsis describes the movie as an 'intimate, decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.'
Aster is reuniting with indie studio maestros A24 who backed both Hereditary and Midsommar. The former became A24's biggest commercial hit at the time, only to be replaced by this year's slice of multiversal madness Everything Everywhere All At Once.
The new poster for Beau Is Afraid is appropriately discombobulating, featuring a creepy, dead-eyed young child (is this a de-aged Phoenix?), and supplanting the actual title for Phoenix's star billing. To be honest, they'd probably sell just as many tickets marketing the film under Phoenix's moniker, given how his reputation for memorable performances precedes him.
What kind of tone will this strike? The creeping, awful dread of Hereditary or the darkly comic slow burn of Midsommar? Maybe a combination of both? We'll find out when Beau is Afraid is released in 2023 (exact UK release date TBC).
In the meantime, check out the first glimpse of Phoenix in Joker sequel Joker: Folie a Deux.