Almost 20 years after making his Marvel debut, Willem Dafoe returns as the Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The four-time Oscar nominee has always been beloved by superhero fans for his committed performance as Norman Osborn, the nemesis of Tobey Maguire’s Spidey, and it turns out he treated his big comeback to the role with the same level of commitment to the physicality of the part as he did then. Despite now being in his 60s.
In an interview with Mulderville, Dafoe reveals that he didn’t want to just come back for No Way Home in a cameo capacity but insisted that he do as much of his stunts and action work as possible, much as he did in the original 2002 Spider-Man movie. A clip from the interview has gone viral on Twitter as Spider-Man lovers appreciate Dafoe’s dedication to his craft.
In the above clip, Dafoe explains that the action involved in playing a part like the Goblin is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“To do this physical stuff was important to me,” Dafoe said. “In fact, one of the first things I said to Jon [Watts, director] and Amy [Pascal, producer] when they pitched it to me, before there was a script, was ‘listen, I don’t want to to just pop in there as a cameo or just fill in in close-ups, I want to do the action because that’s fun for me.'”
Dafoe went on to stress that he feels performing a character’s action scenes is what gives the portrayal “integrity.”
“It’s really impossible to add any integrity and any fun to the character if you don’t participate in these things because all that action stuff informs your relationship to the characters and the story and also it makes you earn your right to play the character in a funny way.
Having Dafoe be so eager to do his own stunt work is likely what lead to Osborn’s redesign for No Way Home. As we’ve seen in the marketing, Norman ditches his Goblin mask in this one — and dons some comics-accurate purple threads — which allows Dafoe to emote more through his face and not be restricted by his helmet. It also tells the audience that, yup, that’s really Dafoe riding that glider.
With his reappearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Willem Dafoe has definitely solidified his reputation as one of cinema’s best ever supervillains. See him in action once more as the Green Goblin in theaters now.