BLACK PHILLIP IS G.O.A.T.
The inside story of unlikely breakout star
anything — movies included. If you’d laid a bet on the identity of the breakout star from Robert Eggers’ chilling horror you’d have been given short odds on its beguiling young star, Anya Taylorjoy. Or maybe even Ralph Ineson, finally finding a role that should help him escape the long, shoe-throwing shadow of Finchy from
You would certainly have been given ridiculously long odds on Black Phillip, the headstrong family goat that, in the film’s horrifying finale, turns out to be so much more.
But that’s exactly what’s happened. Black Phillip has become not just the poster-goat for Robert Eggers’ Puritan chiller, but an unlikely horror icon with an ever-growing, mega-baffling variety of tributes. There’s the Black Phillip toy from Kinder Trauma (“He really talks!”). And petitions for an Apple emoticon (or egoaticon). “You know, there’s an English pub serving a stout called Black Phillip?” offers Eggers. “It’s all come as a bit of a shock. I mean, people are getting Black Phillip
Black Phillip is actually Charlie, a 15 stone billy goat who got his big break through a photoselection process that sounds like Grindr for goats (Bleatr?). “Charlie was perfect: huge, with an impressive pair of horns,” says Eggers. “You could easily picture a witch riding him in a Hans Baldung engraving.”
Black Phillip’s presence was initially intended to be subtle and insidious. As it turned out, Charlie didn’t do subtle. Joining the cast on the remote Ontario set, the goat’s devil-may-care approach to acting soon proved divisive. “Anya nicknamed him ‘stoner goat’ and the twins liked him,” says Eggers. “Ellie Grainger, who played Mercy, would pamper Charlie, plaiting his beard. But boy, did he not like Ralph. Not. At. All.”
That appears to be the understatement of the year. “It was hate at first sight,” shudders Ineson. He had two settings: sleeping or attacking me.” One scene, which got cut, was 40 seconds of goat wrestling. “I did 27 knackering takes — he was three stone heavier than me.” Charlie emerged victorious. Ineson ended up in ER. Charlie had ripped a tendon from his rib. Ineson’s reward for surviving the ordeal was a cast of his horn, now displayed in his downstairs loo (“Not his actual horns, although the thought did cross my mind at the end of the shoot”), and when Eggers was last in the UK, the pair went for a slap-up meal at Soho’s Smoking Goat. “We ate a big old goat and had our revenge,” laughs Eggers. “You know,