Joaquin Phoenix Simulates Drowning in PETA Vegan Ad (Video)

Joaquin Phoenix Drowning PETA - H 2013

Joaquin Phoenix Drowning PETA - H 2013

The star of "The Master" asks you to "try to relate" to a fish that's been caught and forced to suffocate to death.

He delivered an astonishing performance as a varnish-chugging sea drifter in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Now Joaquin Phoenix is taking his Method acting underwater, simulating a drowning man in a PETA spot meant to influence people to go vegan.

The connection? Phoenix is illustrating what it's like for fish to be pulled from the water and left to suffocate to death, a technique that's a "slow, painful and frightening" death for "more than 1 trillion fish every year."

It was a fishing incident that first convinced Phoenix to become a vegan, when he was only 3 years old.

"To this day it is a vivid memory," he told an interviewer in 1996. "My family and I were on a boat catching fish. As one fish was caught, he was writhing. Then he was thrown against the side of the boat. You couldn't disguise what it was. This was what we did to animals to eat them. The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death."