The Oscar nominee is featured in a brand-new PETA video that shows him underwater, panicking and struggling to breathe.
Joaquin Phoenix rarely makes a public appearance, but when he does - it’s generally to make a statement.
The Oscar-nominated actor has collaborated with PETA to film a short ad promoting veganism. In the uncomfortable commercial spot, Phoenix reenacts "the terror fish experience in the last moment of their lives," as explained by PETA.
"In water, humans drown just as fish suffocate on land," Phoenix says as the narrator. "It's slow and painful and frightening. … Put yourself in their place. Try to relate. Go vegan."
The video was shot by famed Hollywood photographer Michael Muller. According to a PETA release, the organization wanted to air the ad during the Academy Awards - since Phoenix is nominated this year for his role in “The Master” - but they were rejected by ABC for being "too political and controversial."
Phoenix, a vegan, described his reason for participating in the campaign.
"I was 3 years old. To this day it is a vivid memory," Phoenix said. "My family and I were on a boat, catching fish… The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death. I recognized it, as did my brothers and sisters."