On the heels of Hereditary and Midsommar, Ari Aster is back at it again with his latest high-minded project for A24. The first trailer for Beau Is Afraid teases some tense family relationships, generational curses, kidnappings, and psychedelic imagery—in short, it looks like an Ari Aster joint.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as Beau, who sets out on a dangerous mission to see his mother, played by Patti LuPone. Before long, though, he wakes up in a strange home to see Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan at his bedside and a “health monitor” strapped to his ankle. Before Beau descends into true Misery, he apparently stages an escape, which is where things seem to get really surreal. Details beyond what you see below have been kept predictably scant, but there are a few places to look for clues.
Notably, Aster directed a short film in 2011 simply called “Beau,” which was available on YouTube until relatively recently. While it doesn’t seem like A24 or Aster have confirmed or denied any overlap between the short and the forthcoming feature, it also centers on a man named Beau heading on a trip to see his mother, per MovieWeb—and that would be one hell of a coincidence.
Another hint of what we may be able to expect comes from a June 2020 interview with UC Santa Barbara’s Associated Students Program Board, when, fresh off of Midsommar, Aster described his next project as “four hours long” and a “nightmare comedy.” But even if Beau Is Afraid hits that four-hour mark, there’s no guarantee that that’s what will ultimately arrive in theaters; Midsommar was about two and a half hours when it hit theaters, but Aster later released his original 171-minute cut.
In addition to Phoenix, Lane, Ryan, and LuPone, Beau Is Afraid counts Kylie Rogers, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Hayley Squires, Michael Gandolfini, Zoe Lister-Jones, and Richard Kind in its cast. The film is scheduled to hit theaters on April 21.