Jul. 22nd, 1955
Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
5' 9 1/2"
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Guest
Himself - Narrator (Voiced)
The Commandant (Voiced)
In 1979, Willem Dafoe was given a small role in Michael Cimino (I)'s Heaven's Gate (1980) from which he was fired. His first feature role came shortly after in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless (1982). From there, he went on to perform in over 60 films - in Hollywood (Spider-Man (2002), The English Patient (1996), Finding Nemo (2003), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), Clear and Present Danger (1994), White Sands (1992), Mississippi Burning (1988)_ , Streets of Fire (1984) and in independent cinema in the U.S. (The Clearing (2004), Animal Factory (2000), Basquiat (1996), The Boondock Saints (1999), American Psycho (2000)) and abroad (Lars von Trier's Manderlay (2005), Ho Yim's Pavilion of Women (2001), 'Yurek Bogayevicz''s Edges of the Lord (2001), Wenders' "Far Away So Close" and Brian Gilbert's "Tom & Viv").
He has chosen projects for diversity of roles and opportunities to work with strong directors. He has worked in the films of Wes Anderson (I) (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)), Martin Scorsese (The Aviator (2004), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)), Paul Schrader (I) (Auto Focus (2002), Affliction (1997), Light Sleeper (1992)), David Cronenberg (eXistenZ (1999)), Abel Ferrara (New Rose Hotel (1998)), David Lynch (I) (Wild at Heart (1990)), William Friedkin (I) (To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)) and Oliver Stone (I) (Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Platoon (1986)).
He was nominated twice for the Academy Award (Platoon (1986) and Shadow of the Vampire (2000)) and once for the Golden Globe. Among other nominations and awards, he received an LA Film Critics Award and an Independent Spirit Award.
Recent projects include Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007), Spike Lee's Inside Man (2006), Paul Weitz's American Dreamz (2006) and Giada Colagrande's Before It Had a Name (2005)" (which was co-written by Mr. Dafoe) and the Nobuhiro Suwa segment of Paris, je t'aime (2006).
Other upcoming films include Fireflies in the Garden (2008) starring opposite Julia Roberts (I), Henry Miller (I)'s Anamorph (2007), Paul Schrader (I)'s The Walker (2007) and Adam Resurrected (2008), Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales (2007) and the Lions Gate release Daybreakers (2009).
Dafoe is one of the founding members of "The Wooster Group", the New York based experimental theatre collective. He has created and performed in the group's work since 1977, both in the U.S. and internationally.
- While doing a blocking run-through on _Wild at Heart (1990)_ (qv) (for the scene in which Dafoe's character threatens to rape 'Laura Dern' (qv)'s character), Dafoe playfully sang his lines. Director 'David Lynch (I)' (qv) loved this, and wanted Dafoe to actually sing his lines in the scene, when they shot it. The idea did not actually go through, however.
- Visited Sarajevo Film Festival (in post-war Bosnia) together with 'Steve Buscemi' (qv) in year 2000.
- Attended Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wisconsin.
- Often portrays soldiers or eccentric characters.
- Says he feels like he's missed out on more conventional roles because he's perceived as an eccentric actor in dark little films, kind of the boy-next-door type - if you lived next door to a mausoleum.
- The only actor to ever be nominated for an Oscar for playing a vampire, for his role as Max Schrek in _Shadow of the Vampire (2000)_ (qv).
- 'John Malkovich' (qv), 'Nicolas Cage' (qv), and Dafoe were all approached to play the Green Goblin in _Spider-Man (2002)_ (qv). Dafoe and Malkovich starred in _Shadow of the Vampire (2000)_ (qv) together, while Cage produced the film. Dafoe ended up getting the Spider-Man role.
- Built sets and acted with experimental theatre group Theatre X, before moving to New York in 1977, where he worked with the Wooster Group at the Performing Garage.