117 Facts About Willem Dafoe


Willem Dafoe is the recipient of various accolades, including the Volpi Cup for Best Actor, in addition to receiving nominations for four Academy Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and a British Academy Film Award.


Willem Dafoe has frequently collaborated with filmmakers Paul Schrader, Abel Ferrara, Lars von Trier, Julian Schnabel, Wes Anderson, and Robert Eggers.


Willem Dafoe was an early member of experimental theater company The Wooster Group, which he is credited as co-founding in the 1970s.


Willem Dafoe made his film debut in Heaven's Gate, but was fired during production and was uncredited despite one of his scenes making it into the final cut of the film.


Willem Dafoe received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Oliver Stone's war film Platoon.


Willem Dafoe portrayed Nuidis Vulko in the DC Extended Universe films including Aquaman, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.


William James Willem Dafoe was born on July 22,1955, in Appleton, Wisconsin, the son of Muriel Isabel and Dr William Alfred Willem Dafoe.


Willem Dafoe has five sisters and two brothers and is of English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish descent.


Willem Dafoe later took the new interpretation as part of his stage name because he had become more used to it than his birth name.


Willem Dafoe then apprenticed under Richard Schechner, the director of the avant-garde theater troupe The Performance Group, where he met and became romantically involved with director Elizabeth LeCompte.


Willem Dafoe soon joined the new company and is credited as one of its co-founders.


Willem Dafoe continued his work with the group into the 2000s, well after establishing himself as a Hollywood film star.


Willem Dafoe made his film debut in a supporting role in Michael Cimino's 1980 epic Western film Heaven's Gate.


Willem Dafoe was only present for the first three months of an eight-month shoot.


Willem Dafoe did not receive a credit for his work on the film.


In 1982, Willem Dafoe starred as the leader of an outlaw motorcycle club in the drama The Loveless, his first role as a leading man.


Willem Dafoe starred alongside Judge Reinhold in Roadhouse 66 as a pair of yuppies who become stranded in a town on US Route 66.


At the 59th Academy Awards, Willem Dafoe was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but the statuette was awarded to Michael Caine.


Willem Dafoe provided his voice to the documentary Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam and, in 1988, Willem Dafoe starred in another film set during the Vietnam War, this time as Criminal Investigation Command Agent Buck McGriff in the action thriller Off Limits.


Variety praised Willem Dafoe's performance, writing, "Willem Dafoe gives a disciplined and noteworthy portrayal of Ward", although they felt it was Hackman "who steals the picture".


Willem Dafoe was briefly considered for the role of the super-villain the Joker in the Tim Burton-directed superhero film Batman, as screenwriter Sam Hamm noticed physical similarities, but was never offered the part that eventually went to Jack Nicholson.


Willem Dafoe starred in the drama Triumph of the Spirit in 1989 as Jewish Greek boxer Salamo Arouch, an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate who was forced to fight other internees to death for the Nazi officers' entertainment.


Willem Dafoe played a paraplegic, wheelchair-using Vietnam veteran who befriends the film's subject Ron Kovic, another paraplegic veteran.


Willem Dafoe made a cameo appearance in John Waters' musical comedy Cry-Baby as a prison guard who gives a brief lecture on values to the title character, who is played by Johnny Depp.


Willem Dafoe played a criminal who engages in a robbery with Cage's character before demonstrating his dark side.


Willem Dafoe wore fake, corroded teeth and grew a pencil moustache that bore resemblance to his previous collaborator, John Waters.


In 1991, Willem Dafoe starred with Danny Glover and Brad Johnson in the action film Flight of the Intruder.


Willem Dafoe was due to star opposite Joan Cusack in the comedy Arrive Alive in 1991, but the film was canceled during production.


Willem Dafoe next starred in the erotic thriller Body of Evidence with Madonna.


Willem Dafoe then co-starred in the spy thriller Clear and Present Danger, an adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel of the name starring Harrison Ford as CIA operative Jack Ryan.


Willem Dafoe played John Clark, a CIA agent conducting a covert operation against a drug cartel in Colombia with Jack Ryan.


The English Patient was filmed in Tuscany, where Willem Dafoe said he particularly enjoyed the "quiet moments in the monastery between shoots".


In 1997, Willem Dafoe returned to playing a villainous role in the action thriller Speed 2: Cruise Control, expressing the necessity of appearing in both independent and blockbuster films.


Speed 2 was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics, with Willem Dafoe himself receiving a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actor.


Also in 1997, Willem Dafoe took on a voice acting role in an episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons titled "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", voicing the commandant of a military academy that Bart and Lisa Simpson are attending.


In 1999, Willem Dafoe gave a supporting performance in David Cronenberg's Existenz, a science fiction thriller in which he played a gas station owner named Gas.


Later in the year, Willem Dafoe starred in the action film The Boondock Saints.


Willem Dafoe played an eccentric, gay FBI agent assigned with investigating a series of murders committed by the MacManus twins who are acting as vigilantes in Boston, Massachusetts after an act of self-defense.


Willem Dafoe received numerous awards and nominations for his performance, including his second Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination.


Willem Dafoe took on two leading roles in 2001, both of which were as priests.


Willem Dafoe then starred opposite Haley Joel Osment in Edges of the Lord, playing a compassionate priest helping a young Jewish boy pose as a Catholic to protect him during Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland.


Willem Dafoe played the supervillain the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi's 2002 superhero film Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire as the titular Marvel Comics superhero.


Willem Dafoe played the Norman Osborn incarnation of the Green Goblin, the billionaire founder and owner of the corporation Oscorp, becoming the Green Goblin after testing an unstable strength enhancer on himself, turning him insane and making him extremely powerful.


The role required Willem Dafoe to wear an uncomfortable costume and mask that made it impossible to emote using his face, confining Willem Dafoe to convey emotion through his voice and head movements.


Willem Dafoe had to wear a prosthetic teeth for his part as Norman whereas the hallucinations of the character had Willem Dafoe in his natural teeth.


Steven Scaife at Vice wrote that Willem Dafoe's Goblin "represents everything that's fun about superhero villains, as well as everything that's great about Raimi's campy films", commending Willem Dafoe's voice and body language, which helped overcome the bulky Green Goblin costume that he compared to that of a Power Rangers villain.


Later in 2002, Willem Dafoe starred with Greg Kinnear in Paul Schrader's biographical film Auto Focus, Willem Dafoe's third collaboration with Schrader.


Willem Dafoe portrayed John Henry Carpenter, an electronics expert who develops a strange friendship with the actor Bob Crane, leading Crane into a downward spiral.


Willem Dafoe provided his voice to the computer-animated Pixar film Finding Nemo in 2003.


Willem Dafoe voiced Gill, a moorish idol fish who helps Nemo, a clownfish, in his struggle to return home to the ocean.


Willem Dafoe lent his voice and likeness to the James Bond video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing as the villain Nikolai Diavolo.


Willem Dafoe co-starred as a man who kidnaps his former boss in exchange for a ransom.


Willem Dafoe reprised his role as Norman Osborn in Spider-Man 2, appearing to his son Harry in an hallucination.


The cameo was suggested by Willem Dafoe, comparing it to the ghost of Hamlet's father visiting his son to ask him to avenge his death.


Willem Dafoe was next seen in the comedy-drama The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, his first of three films with director Wes Anderson.


Willem Dafoe played the "hilariously doltish" German first mate of a research vessel owned by the eponymous lead character, who is played by Bill Murray.


Willem Dafoe then had a small role as a tabloid magazine editor in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a biographical film about Howard Hughes starring Leonardo DiCaprio.


Also in 2004, Willem Dafoe narrated the documentary Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate, chronicling the production of Heaven's Gate and co-starred as a neuropharmacologist in the direct-to-video thriller Control alongside Ray Liotta and Michelle Rodriguez.


Willem Dafoe co-starred in the film as the father of Bryce Dallas Howard's character, a woman who discovers a plantation still thriving as if slavery had never been abolished.


Willem Dafoe had a supporting role in Spike Lee's 2006 crime thriller Inside Man, playing a veteran captain of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit helping with a hostage negotiation during a bank heist on Wall Street.


Willem Dafoe co-starred as the White House Chief of Staff in American Dreamz, a comedy satirizing both popular entertainment and American politics.


Willem Dafoe starred with Juliette Binoche in a short film directed by Nobuhiro Suwa as part of the 2006 anthology film Paris, je t'aime.


In 2007, Willem Dafoe played a pretentious film director in the British comedy film Mr Bean's Holiday, starring Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean.


The Hollywood Reporter thought that Willem Dafoe appeared to think he was "in a pantomime", while a New York Times reviewer felt he was "amusing" in the role.


Willem Dafoe starred as the owner of a strip club in Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales ; Manohla Dargis praised his "twitchy, sympathetic performance" in the film.


Willem Dafoe reprised his role again as Norman Osborn in Spider-Man 3 in a brief cameo.


Willem Dafoe starred with Ryan Reynolds, Julia Roberts, and Emily Watson in the drama Fireflies in the Garden, which premiered at Berlinale in 2008 but was not released theatrically until 2011.


Willem Dafoe played a cold, domineering English professor who has a strained relationship with his family.


Roger Ebert thought that Willem Dafoe was "fearsome" in the role, while Manohla Dargis felt he and Roberts were "awkwardly matched" as a married couple.


Willem Dafoe co-starred as SS Nazi officer in Paul Schrader's Adam Resurrected, which starred Jeff Goldblum as a concentration camp internee.


The critic Peter Brunette felt the cast's performances, especially Willem Dafoe's, were unconvincing.


Willem Dafoe appeared in seven films in 2009, the first of which was in Lars von Trier's experimental film Antichrist.


Willem Dafoe played a former vampire who has a cure that can save the human species in the science fiction horror film Daybreakers, which starred Ethan Hawke as a vampire hematologist.


Willem Dafoe had a voice role in Wes Anderson's stop-motion animated film Fantastic Mr Fox starring George Clooney as the titular Roald Dahl character.


Fresh Air critic David Edelstein felt Willem Dafoe was one of the film's highlights as a "hep-cat, knife-wielding rat security guard".


Willem Dafoe reprised his role from The Boondock Saints in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, making a brief cameo appearance.


Between October and December 2009, Willem Dafoe appeared in Richard Foreman's surrealist play Idiot Savant at The Public Theater.


Willem Dafoe appeared in two films that premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2010, making a brief appearance in Julian Schnabel's political thriller Miral, which some reviewers found to be distracting.


Willem Dafoe played an actor spending his last hours on Earth before the end of the world with his much-younger lover.


The film garnered a poor reaction critics, with a reviewer for Paste stating "there's only so much depth [Willem Dafoe] can bring to such a shallow character".


Willem Dafoe then starred in the Australian drama The Hunter, playing a professional hunter who travels to Tasmania to hunt down the world's only remaining thylacine.


In 2011, Willem Dafoe began narrating a series of television commercials for the Greek yogurt company Fage and starred in a Jim Beam commercial titled "Bold Choices".


Willem Dafoe starred alongside Marina Abramovic and Gretchen Mol in the play The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, which premiered at The Lowry in 2011.


Willem Dafoe played Martian chieftain Tars Tarkas in the Disney film John Carter, using motion capture to portray the multi-limbed character.


Later in 2012, Willem Dafoe co-starred in the low-budget crime thriller Tomorrow You're Gone with Stephen Dorff and Michelle Monaghan.


In 2013, Willem Dafoe played a police officer in the supernatural thriller Odd Thomas, starring Anton Yelchin as the titular character that possesses supernatural powers to see the dead.


In Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe played the supporting role of a bookmaker running an illegal gambling operation.


Willem Dafoe next appeared in Lars von Trier's two-part erotic art film Nymphomaniac, his third and final film release of 2013.


Also in 2013, Willem Dafoe played the devil in a Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl commercial and starred in three short student films as part of a competition sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey.


In 2014, Willem Dafoe portrayed a wealthy private banker with connections to the Russia mafia opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman in Anton Corbijn's espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man.


Willem Dafoe worked with Wes Anderson for a third time with the comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel, featuring as the henchman of Adrien Brody's character alongside an ensemble cast led by Ralph Fiennes.


Willem Dafoe next starred alongside Matt Dillon as a detective in the crime thriller Bad Country, which critic Justin Chang dismissed as being "blandly constructed".


In May 2014, Willem Dafoe served as member of the main competition jury at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.


Willem Dafoe was next featured in a supporting role as a mean-spirited, alcoholic author who is visited by a pair of cancer patients, who are played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, in the romantic drama The Fault in Our Stars.


Willem Dafoe collaborated with Ferrara on the drama Pasolini, in which he played Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini during his last days before his murder in 1975.


Willem Dafoe stated he found the use of gun fu combat created an interesting mix of action, stating "you have the grace of martial arts, but then the bang of the gun".


Willem Dafoe made his second guest appearance in the animated sitcom The Simpsons in November 2014, voicing a new school teacher who bullies Bart Simpson profusely.


Willem Dafoe starred in the late Brazilian director's Hector Babenco's final film My Hindu Friend as a film director close to death who befriends a Hindu 8-year-old boy while hospitalized.


Willem Dafoe next played the boss of Gerard Butler's character in the drama A Family Man and starred in Loris Greaud's arthouse science fiction film Sculpt, which was only screened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for one person at a time.


Also in 2016, Willem Dafoe appeared in another Super Bowl commercial, this time for Snickers, recreating Marilyn Monroe's iconic white dress scene from the film The Seven Year Itch.


In 2017, Willem Dafoe co-starred in Sean Baker's drama The Florida Project as the manager of a motel in Kissimmee, Florida who houses a toxic mother and her six-year-old daughter.


The film and his performance received enormous critical acclaim, with The Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday writing that "Willem Dafoe delivers his finest performance in recent memory, bringing to levelheaded, unsanctimonious life a character who offers a glimmer of hope and caring within a world markedly short on both".


Willem Dafoe earned his third Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination, as well as nominations at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and BAFTA Awards.


In 2017, Willem Dafoe played and voiced the character of Ryuk, a demonic death god from Japanese mythology, in Netflix's Death Note, and adaptation of the Japanese supernatural-thriller manga of the same name.


Willem Dafoe then narrated Australian documentarian Jennifer Peedom's documentary Mountain.


Willem Dafoe later played Nuidis Vulko in a leading role in James Wan's 2018 film Aquaman.


Willem Dafoe appears in Wes Anderson's ensemble period comedy The French Dispatch and Guillermo del Toro's neo-noir psychological thriller Nightmare Alley, which were both released in 2021, and Robert Eggers's historical epic The Northman, released in 2022.


Willem Dafoe voiced the Australian ABC-television documentary 'River' in 2022, which was written to highlight the precaricity of rivers worldwide.


In February 2021, it was announced that Willem Dafoe will be co-starring alongside Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in Yorgos Lanthimos's Poor Things.


Willem Dafoe reprised his role as Green Goblin from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: No Way Home, released on December 17,2021.


Also, like Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe was digitally de-aged for the character's 2002 self.


The Lantern Brett Price wrote that Willem Dafoe was "on another level" in No Way Home and not having his mask made him even more intimidating than he was in the 2002 film.


On May 12,2023, Willem Dafoe was announced to be cast in Beetlejuice 2 as an unknown role.


In 1977, Willem Dafoe began a relationship with director Elizabeth LeCompte.


In March 2004, Willem Dafoe met Italian actress Giada Colagrande in Rome at the premiere of one of her films.


Willem Dafoe is a pescetarian, citing his belief that "animal farms are one of the main causes of the destruction of the planet".


On May 22,2022, Willem Dafoe was invited back to his alma mater the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by Chancellor Mark Mone to serve as the keynote speaker for the university's commencement ceremony and to receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree.