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Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe

Birthday: 22 July 1955, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
Birth Name: William J. Dafoe
Height: 175 cm

Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Muriel Isabel (Sprissler), a nurse, and Dr. William Alfred Dafoe, a surgeon. He is of German, French, English, Irish, and Scottish descent. In 1979, Da ...Show more

Willem Dafoe
I'm always very fond of laconic, cut-off characters that have a rich inner life, and you have to res Show more I'm always very fond of laconic, cut-off characters that have a rich inner life, and you have to restrain that. Hide
I wish to Christ I could make up a really great lie. Sometimes, after an interview, I say to myself, Show more I wish to Christ I could make up a really great lie. Sometimes, after an interview, I say to myself, 'Man, you were so honest - can't you have some fun? Can't you do some really down and dirty lying?' But the puritan in me thinks that if I tell a lie, I'll be punished. Hide
Weirdness is not my game. I'm just a square boy from Wisconsin. Weirdness is not my game. I'm just a square boy from Wisconsin.
I'm an optimist. I hope if a movie's good that it will be a success, but as we know, that's not alwa Show more I'm an optimist. I hope if a movie's good that it will be a success, but as we know, that's not always true, just because of popular taste, advertising, distribution patterns, there's lots of reasons. When something doesn't do better than it deserves to in your mind, it's pretty transparent, you usually know why. Is that a comfort? Yes, because it's logical. Does it make you happy? No, because if you think a movie is beautiful or interesting, you want to share it. It's really true; there's no accounting for taste. Sometimes you make very interesting movies that aren't meant for everybody. But this is a capitalist society, so everything conspires to put value on whether it sells or not. While we have a very strong popular culture, the roots of our culture are very shallow, and we put emphasis on how a movie does as far as the box office goes. Many years ago, it would have been vulgar to print box-office grosses in the paper. Now The New York Times does it, and it's the big story for people interested in arts and entertainment on Monday. Which is why emphasis has shifted away from filmmakers and fallen on movie stars and business people. Hide
Sometimes I have a desire to control what I do a little bit, especially when I do a smaller movie. B Show more Sometimes I have a desire to control what I do a little bit, especially when I do a smaller movie. But basically, my impulses are the impulses of a child. I like being the thing itself. I don't like thinking about it. And that doesn't mean I'm not analytical or that I'm anti-intellectual. I'm not trying to say I'm a totally intuitive kind of guy. It's just that my real pleasure, where I feel vital and everything drops away, is when I'm in the middle of doing it, and I look for that opportunity untainted by other responsibilities. But I'm getting too serious. When I try to explain what I do, I get a little bit disgusted with myself because I come off too earnest. In the simplest terms, it's a pleasure to borrow someone else's body and someone else's life. That's the craft, and it's a bit like voodoo, because you don't know exactly how you do it. - On his acting style. Hide
I don't think people want to see me as a regular guy, besides, I'm a regular guy in real life. I gue Show more I don't think people want to see me as a regular guy, besides, I'm a regular guy in real life. I guess I just want to be reckless in my work. Hide
The worst thing is to get involved with people who aren't passionate about what they're doing. The worst thing is to get involved with people who aren't passionate about what they're doing.
I never act. I simply bring out the real animal that's in me. I never act. I simply bring out the real animal that's in me.
On The Last Temptation of Christ (1988): It had a profound influence on me. Marty [Scorsese] had mad Show more On The Last Temptation of Christ (1988): It had a profound influence on me. Marty [Scorsese] had made this movie in his head for years, and I felt privileged to be involved. Hide
[on why he became an actor]: "You know, it shifts. When it starts out in the beginning, I think it's Show more [on why he became an actor]: "You know, it shifts. When it starts out in the beginning, I think it's purely a social thing. The thing you get reinforcement for, it's a way of acting out. It's a way of getting attention. It's a way of just fitting in socially. And then, as I get older, it transforms into something else." Hide
There's a funny perception that I play bad guys, but if you really know my movies, the big and small Show more There's a funny perception that I play bad guys, but if you really know my movies, the big and small ones, the truth is often I play good guys. But they're good guys that are flawed, good guys who are outside of society. They're odd or they're criminals, but morally they tend to function as good people. Hide
On principle I don't have favorites. To pass judgment on something you've done is a face-saving act, Show more On principle I don't have favorites. To pass judgment on something you've done is a face-saving act, and I think it kinda stinks. There are all kinds of movies, all kinds of impulses and all kinds of needs for people watching movies, and sometimes I'll do a movie that I don't particularly care for, but then I'll run into someone that it speaks to and they love it. So for me, to give my personal take on it, could mean ruining that movie for someone else, because they can find pleasure where I can't. - On his favorite roles. Hide
Most of the work happens when you're on the set. It's like going to a cocktail party - you know who' Show more Most of the work happens when you're on the set. It's like going to a cocktail party - you know who's going to be there, you have certain expectations about the topics of conversation and the social dynamic. At the same time, when you arrive, you've got to be able to abandon those preconceptions and be mercurial. But sometimes the most important thing is just having a good costume. - On preparation for the characters he plays. Hide
Sometimes I envy their power and money, and other times I feel sorry for them since they have a gun Show more Sometimes I envy their power and money, and other times I feel sorry for them since they have a gun to their head. They have so much to protect that they have to be very careful, thus very certain every step of the way, and that leaves out a lot of work of any freshness. I don't want to do that - I'm not that kind of actor. - On top Hollywood actors. Hide
All the time, as an actor, you want to be asking what's next and where things are going. If you're n Show more All the time, as an actor, you want to be asking what's next and where things are going. If you're not asking those questions you're not growing. Hide
[2004, on selection parts] I'm always looking for an adventure-I try not to work just to work. I alw Show more [2004, on selection parts] I'm always looking for an adventure-I try not to work just to work. I always try to find people that are burning to tell a story and then help them do it. I try to avoid anyone that pokes around-filmmaking should be an opportunity to make something that's very thrilling and, you know, exciting. On some level, I'm a sensation junkie. Hide
Any actor who tells you that he makes choices, absolutely, is wrong. You find work and work finds yo Show more Any actor who tells you that he makes choices, absolutely, is wrong. You find work and work finds you. Hide
[on his role in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)]: "To this day, I can't believe I was so brazen Show more [on his role in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)]: "To this day, I can't believe I was so brazen to think I could pull off the Jesus role." Hide
Casting people feel that they have to get someone who looks a certain way, and I think that the jury Show more Casting people feel that they have to get someone who looks a certain way, and I think that the jury is still out whether people find me attractive or not. Hide
I'm one of those people who when I go over a bridge, I want to jump. It's just this intense tickle i Show more I'm one of those people who when I go over a bridge, I want to jump. It's just this intense tickle in the back of my throat. It's like I'm on the verge the whole time I'm walking over that bridge, and I'm not going to get a release until I jump. Hide
It's one of those invented things. I spend a lot of time in Germany so it's in my head. I didn't fee Show more It's one of those invented things. I spend a lot of time in Germany so it's in my head. I didn't feel the need to go to a dialogue coach and be very strict with it because that's not in the spirit of how it should be approached. My take was that it should be played with and invented. It's my idea of a Germanish accent - On his accent in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). Hide
[on whether good actors help other actors]: "You're always looking for good people to work with, bec Show more [on whether good actors help other actors]: "You're always looking for good people to work with, because you feed each other. That's all." Hide
When you look back at your experiences, it's true that sometimes the most horrendous experiences can Show more When you look back at your experiences, it's true that sometimes the most horrendous experiences can translate into being your best work. Hide
I always like to mix it up. It's like anything. If you're eating pasta for a week, eventually, you c Show more I always like to mix it up. It's like anything. If you're eating pasta for a week, eventually, you crave something else. A balanced diet of different roles and different stories and movies - I think it's the way to stay healthy artistically and career wise. It does a funny thing because you're not refining one way of seeing you. That's one way to have a career. You can make a persona, corner a market, and make yourself almost a thing. You can use that and that can be interesting iconographical but I still am that actor who likes to bend myself to the material rather than find material to support some idea of who I am or some persona that I've made, or some mask that I've made. - On his career. Hide
...it's very clear that a lot of people that have really strong instincts as actors are very often i Show more ...it's very clear that a lot of people that have really strong instincts as actors are very often inarticulate...Sometimes, you know, classically, if someone's very intellectual, they aren't as connected to the doing of things. And the doing is really the key to finding the emotionality and the spirit of things. Hide
Willem Dafoe's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (85)
Willem Dafoe Willem Dafoe'S roles
Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff

Lionel 'Elvis' Cormac
Lionel 'Elvis' Cormac

Norman Osborn
Norman Osborn

Van Houten
Van Houten

General George Deckert
General George Deckert

Gill
Gill

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