BLACK PHILLIP IS G.O.A.T.

Empire (UK) - - RE.VIEW -

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,

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