With over a hundred acting credits to his name, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more productive actor in the business than Willem Dafoe. From superhero blockbusters to prestige pictures, to anime adaptations, to video games, to a nautical descent into madness, Dafoe has done it all, and now the actor joins us for a new episode of The Fourth Wall to discuss his incredible year between “The Lighthouse” and “Motherless Brooklyn.”
It was only last year that Dafoe garnered awards recognition by way of a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in “At Eternity’s Gate” and Best Supporting Actor the year prior for his work in “The Florida Project.” While the 2020 Awards Season is still young, Oscar Buzz has been circling the actor yet again for his salty Shakespearean lighthouse keeper in Robert Eggers‘ “The Lighthouse” ever since it’s premiere at Sundance earlier this year. There’s no doubt that Dafoe’s proven ability and desire to select distinct and interesting projects has allowed him to deliver some of his best work to date as of late. However, what’s truly captivating about the 64-year-old as a performer is his unabashed love of the art form. It’s precisely this passion that seeps into each of Dafoe’s performances and is what’s driven the actor to remain consistently active as he broadens his horizons.
“Work is the easy part; life is the tough part,” said Dafoe. “There’s an element of structured experience to that where I can really apply myself in a way where I feel free. And also, when you’re in movement, and you feel well in movement, I like that. I mean, I believe in reflection, but I believe you can do that even when you’re in movement. That’s the nature of performing. I like to work, what can I say? I’m happy when I’m working, and it’s because I still find it very mysterious. I like the whole idea of waking up in the day, and knowing every day’s going to be different and the challenges are going to be different, and I’m going to be under the gun!”
During our conversation, we discussed the creative differences between playing characters based off of existing source material vs. wholly original ones, his process for delivering “The Lighthouse’s” epic monologues, working with both Edward Norton the director and actor, his excitement for collaborating with Guillermo del Toro on “Nightmare Ally” and much more.
Both “The Lighthouse” and “Motherless Brooklyn” are now in theaters.
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