Willem Dafoe Talks Justice League And Movie Budgets


Actor Willem Dafoe is a two-time Academy Award nominee, with a remarkable resume. He is known for striking a very clear balance between big budget projects and independent movies – with roles in a diverse range of films, including Platoon, The Last Temptation Of Christ, Clear And Present Danger, The English Patient, Speed 2: Cruise Control, and Antichrist. Currently, however, it is his role as the Atlantean Nuidis Vulko in Justice League that is attracting the most attention.

All eyes were upon him recently as he attended the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to receive the Crystal Globe Award for contributions to world cinema. The event called for a press conference, and The Playlist was on hand for the actor’s comments on many aspects of his career – including Justice League, which is currently in production.

“I don’t want to talk about that. I’ve got so many movies to talk about. I’ll let them orchestrate the publicity on that movie. I’m happy to be a part of it and when it comes out I’ll be talking about it ad nausea. I shot part of it and I’ll go back and shoot some more. This is a DC Comics Justice League movie. Which is shooting now. Too soon to talk about.”

The involvement of Willem Dafoe in Justice League has been one of the more fascinating developments when it comes to both this project, and the actor’s career choices. Movies don’t come much bigger than the first film about the DC superhero team in live-action cinema, and yet Dafoe is renowned for his love of smaller projects. During his press conference, he laid out his view of the difference – on a practical level – between independent film and studio ‘tent-poles’.

“Every movie is different and I kind of don’t like to generalize. But clearly, the aesthetics of a movie and the way a movie is made depends on the economics of a movie…The bigger the financial commitment, the more it gets controlled and the more cooks you have in the kitchen. It’s more possible to make a personal, integrated film at a lower budget because you are responsible to less people to explain to them what it is…For a bigger budget, you can make a more personal film, but it’s more difficult because you have to pay off the investment so you have to have it appeal to a lot of people…Most designed popular movies…usually just titillate us or make us forget our lives for a little while. I think I am more interested in movies that inspire us and challenge how we think. Most people, fair enough, don’t go to the movies for that.”

But, to be clear, Willem Dafoe is under no illusion about the benefits involved in riding the superhero movie gravy train – particularly when it comes to the boost his own career received from his iconic role as The Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.

“I think Spider-Man helped terrifically in that respect. Y’know, my struggle is, I try to make a certain type of a movie and some of those movies don’t get distributed widely. And if people don’t see you for a while, it’s hard to follow your career. And as distribution gets kind of less creative, the big movie takes all the interest of the people. So when you do a movie that’s widely distributed, popular and a good movie and what you do with it is regarded well, that has to be good for your career.”

So, while Willem Dafoe was reluctant to discuss any detail of the in-production Justice League, we can surmise from these comments that he has taken the role of Nuidis Vulko because, having read the script, he believes it will be a good movie – and he intends to deliver a strong performance within it. Big budget movies may not be his favorite type of work, but anything involving Willem Dafoe is a win for the audience – and we’ll finally see his contribution to Justice League when it arrives in theatres on November 17th, 2017.

Source: The Playlist