During the writing process, Aster’s creativity didn’t have to think about budgetary constraints or how exactly certain scenes were going to be achieved. The reality of getting as much of the director’s vision onto the screen as possible came later. “As far as writing it goes, I was just clickety-clacketing without restraint,” Aster joked at a recent roundtable discussion attended by /Film’s Lex Briscuso. Asked about the dire ending of “Beau is Afraid,” Aster broke down how complicated the finale was to accomplish and why it reminded him of summer tentpoles like “Avatar”:
“I’m in a water tank with Joaquin on a boat, surrounded by just greenscreen everywhere. So all of that was made from scratch in CG. And the process of building that out in CG, that was the most difficult, arduous process I’ve ever gone through in making a film. It gave me new respect for films like “Avatar” or something, where it’s all made from scratch.”
With backing by A24, the budget of “Beau is Afraid” is substantial, but obviously nowhere near the mountains of cash that Cameron had at his disposal. “We didn’t have quite the amount of money we needed to do what we were doing,” Aster admitted. “So we were just stretching the money and we were stretching the artists as far as we could to get to that. It was hard, but we landed in a place that I feel pretty good about.”
Being familiar with Aster’s previous films, “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” it shouldn’t be too surprising to reveal that the ending of “Beau is Afraid” isn’t exactly a happy one. For that reason, leaving the theater after Aster’s latest may be a little easier than saying goodbye to the engrossing world of James Cameron’s Pandora.