Armen Nahapetian’s new role sees him play Teen Beau in the worldwide cinema release of Beau Is Afraid, for which he was directed by the film’s writer and producer Ari Aster. Having attended the film’s premiere earlier this year, Armen reunited with the rest of the cast, including Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the older version of Beau Wasserman. Amongst Armen’s further acting roles, he played Jason in the 2020 feature film aTypical Wednesday, Allen in NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Brick in AJ and the Queen and Eight-Year-Old Shokrani in Here and Now. Currently, Armen is working on an upcoming skateboard feature film, with a release date not yet announced. Chatting to us, Armen told us about playing Teen Beau in Beau Is Afraid, attending the film’s premiere earlier this year and what it was like being part of aTypical Wednesday.
You can currently be seen in the new release of Beau Is Afraid as Teen Beau, can you tell us about the film?
The film is a trip! Literally and figuratively! I personally think the film is about a man that’s been entirely messed up by his mom from how she raised him. There are many layers to this film and everyone is going to see it and interpret it differently based on their life. It’s the kind of film that stays with you long after and you need to think on for a while.
What was Teen Beau like to play and how did you prepare for the role?
Being Teen Beau felt familiar yet scary at the same time. I tapped into my own anxiety, self-doubt, fears, kindness, and love. My dad usually accompanies me on set, but this time I asked my mom to go and be like Mona (Beau’s mom in the film) and watch my every move while filming. I wanted that pressure of being watched, scrutinised with the fear of disappointing her. In real life, my mom’s usually chill, so that was hard on both of us, so on weekends we would spend time doing fun things together in Montreal (where we filmed) like river rafting, jet boating, and hiking. But then once it was time to film, we would go back to that tense mother-son relationship that Beau has.
What was it like sharing the role of Beau with Joaquin Phoenix and how was it being directed by Ari Aster?
It was an honour to share this role with Joaquin. Words can’t express. The same goes for Ari. These two are not only incredibly artistically gifted but also kind and humble. I still can’t believe how lucky I am!
How did you find the experience on set of the film and what did you enjoy most about working on Beau Is Afraid?
The cast and crew were amazingly kind and thoughtful. I really enjoyed being given the freedom to create my version of Beau. There was never any discussion of “Joaquin is doing this, so you need to do that”, which often happens when you play a younger version of a character.
How does it feel now Beau Is Afraid is being released worldwide and what was it like attending the film’s premiere?
I am soooooooo excited for the worldwide release! Some of my greatest supporters are overseas and I’m so thankful for them! Being at the film’s premiere was like being in a dream. I was looking out from the stage at all these incredible actors in the audience and couldn’t believe it. I even had PEDRO PASCAL sitting right behind me! He accidentally kicked my mom’s seat a few times and I looked at her like, don’t you dare say anything!! It was funny!
Why would you recommend watching Beau Is Afraid and who do you think it will appeal to?
Watch Beau Is Afraid if you want something different and unique. It will appeal to anyone who’s ever struggled in life, but can find the humour in it!
What are some of your favourite memories from filming as Teen Beau and working alongside the rest of the cast?
My favourite memory happened on my last day of filming. Joaquin and I had a meaningful conversation and he told me I did a great job. It meant everything to me.
In the 2020 feature film aTypical Wednesday, you play Jason, what was this like to work on?
Jason was a fun role because I was such a jerk in that movie! It’s completely the opposite of me! Karma does get Jason in the end so I liked that!
How was it having guest roles in NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service and AJ and the Queen and can you tell us about your time filming for both?
NCIS was nice because we filmed at a lake and I love filming outside. AJ and the Queen was exciting because I got to do my first choreographed dancing and singing with crazy talented actors! I made many friends on those projects and I value their friendships.
What do you remember most from playing Eight-Year-Old Shokrani in the HBO series Here and Now?
Learning Farsi for the first time! I had to speak the majority of my lines on Here and Now in Farsi, but thankfully I picked it up quickly!
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
My older brother Remy wanted to get into acting when we were very young. I tagged along with him and immediately loved it! For a shy kid, it was a great source of expression. It then became something I knew I had to do because of the incredible way it made me feel.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
If it’s anime, I’m watching it! I especially love reading the manga, then watching the film or TV show.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Concerts, skateboarding, and spending time with my friends, family, and animals. I also enjoy travelling and experiencing different cultures.
Have you been given any advice over your time as an actor so far that has stuck with you?
The best advice I have been given was by Greg Kasyan on Daybreak. I got the opportunity to play the younger version of him. He told me that, yes, acting is serious, but you can’t take it too seriously. You make your own choices and because they are yours, there are no wrong choices. Don’t let others’ opinions who don’t matter, affect you. He also let me know that great actors don’t tell other actors what to do.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
Right now, I’m working on a skateboarding film and that makes me very happy! Life is good, and I look forward to continuing on this incredible journey!
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