Joaquin Phoenix rarely makes a public appearance, but when he does – he usually makes a statement. The most recent news story is the controversial PETA promo directed by Michael Muller, which depicts the Best Actor nominee trashing underwater and struggling for breath. Visuals of the actor drowning are accompanied by a voiceover: “In water, humans drown just as fish suffocate on land. It’s slow and painful and frightening. … Put yourself in their place. Try to relate. Go vegan.”
The shocking PSA is not the first time Michael Muller and Joaquin Phoenix have collaborated together, with Muller photographing some of Phoenix’s most memorable portraits. However, the purposefully uncomfortable ad is the first time the vegan actor has filmed a mainstream promo for the organization famous for their shock-driven campaigns. With such a striking visual statement, even if the majority of viewers don’t go vegan – they’ll certainly be talking about it.