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11 September 2019
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Willem Dafoe Webchat Transcript
The Hunter on The Hunter and more...

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Having appeared in such a wide variety of films, from Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy to John Carter, Antichrist to Body Of Evidence, there were plenty of questions to be asked of Willem Dafoe when he came round for a webchat - and here's the transcript to prove it. So for titbits on his latest, The Hunter, as well as the most evasive answer to "What's your favourite sandwich?" ever, look no further...

Willem Dafoe Webchat Transcript

Irish_guy: Hello Mr. Dafoe I am a huge fan of your work. You pick incredibly interesting characters to play; what drew you to your character in The Hunter? Do you hunt yourself?
I don't hunt. It was an expansive role. I liked the story; I knew we were going to shoot in Tasmania and I knew I had to learn some things to do the role, things that interested me, and I knew what root of the experience was.

PunyGod: Hi, Willem! I’m a huge fan. What was it like to work with Sam Neill again?
I love Sam Neill. The thing that I always say about him, and I think it's true, is he's so dry. When he's serious I think he's joking; when he’s joking I think he's serious. But he's a decent man who does great performances, seldom showy performances, and he's good company. And he makes good wine.

QuentinCappucino: After making The Hunter, do you think the Tasmanian Tiger is really out there?
You often hear from and meet people that have a story about a sighting. When we were shooting, there was a quasi-credible sighting complete with iPhone filming. And among old-timers, a lot of them will tell you stories of seeing the tiger.

scottchambers123: Hello Mr Dafoe, big fan, first time question asker. Did you go method for this role? I've got this cat that keeps going through my bins. Not a rare Tasmanian tiger but any tips on how to find the little bugger so I can tell it off?
Get yourself a good gun... Method, I don't know what Method is. In fact, Stanislavsky’s beautiful writing has been so abused that I don't think anyone really knows what Method is. I'm a task-oriented actor. A pretender. And I try to invent my process anew each time I make a new project. So I frown on any method.

ChubChub: Which role have you found to be the most demanding, either physically or mentally?
Hard to say. It's a stupid answer but it's a question that I get asked a lot and I never come up with an answer that satisfies me or that I think is particularly interesting or true. Sorry. This is not my first job, answering interviews.

ConorQ: Hi Willem! Of all the characters that you have played, which one would you most hate to meet? (Personally, Bobby Peru from Wild at Heart would scare the crap out of me!)
I love Bobby Peru. I would very much like to meet him! I can understand why you'd be afraid of him, but there’s something so true about that role that at least you'd know who you were dealing with. Bobby Peru has a special place in my heart.

neifien: Hi Willem, not really about The Hunter, but I just wanted to say I saw you perform Friday night in Antwerp with Marina Abramovic. It was amazing. Very strong performance in a play with effective images. What do you prefer? Stage or film? And how did you enjoy Antwerp?
I think I really was surprised how great Antwerp was. DeSingel always has interesting programming. I don't have a preference between theatre and film; I like to do both. But I will say that there's something about theatre that is more nourishing and sustaining than film ever can be. Not just the immediate feedback, but something about the fact of the ritual and athleticism of theatre that is very hard to find in film. The way you engage all aspects of your body and your mind. Film things are very fragmented.

OLIVIAROSE: Apart from being a success in the movie biz, Mr. Dafoe proved to be a natural model (looking pretty badass) on the catwalk for Prada Menswear F/W 2012-13. What did he think of the experience?
I had a good time. I shot a campaign for Prada maybe 20 years ago, I like them. Doing the catwalk was like playing a role, and the clothes in that collection were quite fantastic. A new experience for me.

DT: Do you have any thoughts on the decision to re-imagine Spider-Man so soon after your work on the previous franchise?
I have lots of thoughts. Where do I start? I haven't seen it. I don't know what to say. I will say that I did see the preview and I was kind of shocked at how it's another version of exactly the same story. Surprising. I wish them well, but I think it's hard to beat the charm, the naive charm, of the first one. There's never really any possibility of going back.

Willem Dafoe Webchat Transcript
Willem Dafoe in The Hunter

chiccineaste: First of all I have to say that I absolutely admire your work, I believe you give breathtaking character portrayals. Now to the point: I was wondering if you were given a chance to act in anything based on a piece of literature, which book/play/character would you choose?
Good question. Many thoughts come to mind! I like Joseph Conrad very much, and he's very hard to adapt but I like the characters of his novels, so I think about that. I'd think about people more than characters. People, filmmakers that I want to collaborate with. Because I don't know what characters are until I make them.

jonluke: Hi Willem. Got to ask you about Antichrist. How was it working with Lars and do you think anyone else would have accepted such an intense role?!
I love Lars. I like that movie very much. It was a great experience. I'm sure someone else would have accepted that role, but it's so hypothetical because even though there was a strong script, that film was truly made in the shooting, and is very specific to the actors and Lars, so it's hard to imagine someone else doing it. OR EVEN WANTING TO!

welshevs75: Bizarrely in the UK you are now also recognised as the voice of the Birdseye Polar Bear. What's your favourite sandwich... is it a fish finger sarnie by any chance?
No. My favourite sandwich? I love fish... I like tuna fish, but then I read a story about a woman whose life was ruined by a tuna fish allergy. She had an emotional balance that brought her almost to commit suicide before she knew that it was this allergy to tuna that was making her feel so depressed and lethargic.

The sad part about this interview is that after I answer your question you can't have another swing at me! Or for that matter, me at you.

fakeplasticmax: Hi Willem, what always strikes me about your performances is your voice (particularly on your fantastic rendering of Poe's 'The Raven' on the Lou Reed album). Any plans to record more audiobooks, apart from the two you've already done?
Audiobooks aren't really my thing. But I do love doing recordings, I do love playing with my voice, and of course if Lou wanted me to do something again I'd be happy to since I always have a good time with him.

Eddy: Hi Willem, are you happy to see Finding Nemo coming back to the big screen? And do you think it needed the conversion into 3D?
It was a good experience. I like Andrew Stanton a lot, and I like the Pixar culture. It would not have occurred to me to make it 3D, but if it brings people to see it again, I think it's great. And who knows? Maybe it'll be very cool in 3D.

Leach: What is your fondest memory of working on the awesome Life Aquatic?
Beautiful experience! I think shooting in Ponza, where I sort of improvised jumping off the boat to save Steve Zissou. Also, I did a full burn in the sequence where we rescue people from the Filipino pirates. Crazy Wes made me do it about 8 times. It was very dangerous, it's the one thing that I can brag about because it was really a serious stunt, but the camera was in the wrong place and it was never even used in the movie. You see where risk and devotion will get you?

Ewan McBleep: I've never heard of anyone else with the name Willem: is it your real name? Where does it come from?
I was born William. My father was William. I came from a big family, I hated being called Billy. Willem's a nickname, it's a Dutch name, very common in the Netherlands. The joke is that I was just there performing with a theatre piece, and all the journalists and the public call me William because they can't believe an American would be named Willem. Oh we people have such small minds!

JC: So, who've you been listening to lately? Always had you pegged as a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers man.
Not really. I mean, that's fine. I've been doing a show with Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons. I've been listening to John Cale, because I'm going to do an interview with him and I wanted to get in his head. I've got very eclectic tastes. I don't have my music, I listen to many people's music. The only person that I'm forever devoted to, rain or shine, good or bad, is rockin' Bobby Dylan. The incorruptible poet.

Willem Dafoe Webchat Transcript

Ants: Hello, you will be working again with Lars Von Trier on one of his most ambitious projects The Nymphomaniac. What can you tell us about it?
Yes, I will work on Nymphomaniac and no, I can tell you nothing. Not to be secretive, but just practically there's nothing to tell because we haven't shot it yet.

robster: Mr. Dafoe, I'm proud to say I love Body of Evidence. Do you look back on working with the Queen of Pop and Uli Edel with fondness?
Yes. Good for you! It's the first time I've heard a mention of that movie since I came here to promote The Hunter, but it's become something of a running gag for me that whenever I come to the UK to do press, the journalists are obsessed with Body of Evidence. Is it because Madge is an honorary Brit now? What's the deal? Is it a no-sex-we're-British thing? OK. I don't know what to say, but I'm glad you found pleasure in the movie. Thanks. Thanks for being your own person.

Boz: Hi Willem. How do you feel about being that iconic image from Platoon? How was the experience of shooting that film? You often hear of war films literally being hell to complete.
It was a good experience, very good. That's a beautiful poster, that's a beautifully conceived sequence. The movie is all the sweeter in my mind because it was a little tiny movie that took many years to get funding with a director that was only respected, at that point, as a writer – even though he had made a good movie, Salvador – and with unknown actors, basically, about a version of the Vietnam story that was not in vogue at the time. So to see it have success popularly and critically was a surprise and a pleasure. To be honest, I made it to make it because I loved it. But my expectation of its release was that it would end up on the video shelf next to some kung-fu movies. Hard to imagine now, but it's true.

piccolo135: I'm firmly in the 'Love John Carter' camp, and would love to see a sequel. How did you feel about the way it was marketed and its critical reception?
Disappointed by the reception, disappointed I guess by the marketing because before it was released there was a very spotty awareness of it. I can't explain why it wasn't touted as the next best thing since sliced bread. Seriously, I was looking forward to doing a sequel, particularly since the Carter / Tars Tarkas relationship really develops and becomes super interesting.

Andre: In Platoon during the smoking scenes, was that real grass?
The funny thing is we smoked grass, all got high, and then they had technical problems and we had to wait to shoot. So we were on the other side of being high by the time it came to be high in the scene. Almost a little hung over, sort of. So the joke is that it made it a lot more difficult to party in the scene when we were supposed to be partying. So the lesson is, kiddies, pretending is better than really doing it!

ScottChambers123: How much would I have to pay for you to leave a threating voice mail to my phone? I've got ten pounds worth of Argos vouchers with your name on it if you do so
Leave your number after the show, and we'll talk.

Craig: Willem, To Live and Die in L.A. is one of my favourite movies of the 80s. What was it like to work with Friedkin, and have you had the chance to see his recent output such as Bug and Killer Joe?
Unfortunately no, I'm ashamed to say, because I like him. And I'm glad he's still making movies, and particularly outside of the system. He started working outside the system with To Live And Die In LA. He worked very unconventionally and in a very inspirational way in that movie. But now that you mention it, I'm going to make a promise to myself to see Bug and Killer Joe.

jsmain: What did you think of Family Guy's portrayal of you?
I saw the clip. Made me piss my pants.

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