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Here you can learn about Willem Dafoe’s career and private life facts, read the latest news, find all the awards he has won and watch photos and videos.
PERSONAL DATA OF WILLEM DAFOE
Age: 65 years old
Height: 175 cm
Born in: Appleton, Wisconsin, United States
Born on: 07/22/1955
Spouse: Giada Colagrande (married in 2005)
WILLEM DAFOE BIOGRAPHY
Born the July 22, 1955 in Appleton, Wisconsin, Willem Dafoe, known at the registry office as William James Dafoe, is one of the most prolific interpreters of the contemporary cinema scene. After studying acting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he had a first approach to the theater by joining the experimental company Theater X, an avant-garde group destined to become one of the most historic in the region with its tours in the States and Europe. In 1976 he moved to New York, where he became an apprentice to Professor Richard Schechner, director of the theater company The Performance Group, from which the Wooster Group, in which Dafoe will be active until the 2000s.
The film debut came in 1981 with The gates of heaven of Michael Cimino in a small role, which will never see the light of day because it was cut during the editing phase; Dafoe was in fact fired by Cimino during filming, when the actor laughed in response to a joke. The following year he is the protagonist of the independent film The Loveless (1982), directorial debut of Kathryn Bigelow, in the part of the leader of a band of biker thugs, a role very similar to the one he will also cover in Streets of fire (1984). The young Luciferian face and the sunken gaze are perfect for playing the villain and confirming this trend line at the beginning of his career is also Live and die in Los Angeles (1985), where he is a runaway counterfeiter criminal. The bad boy line is interrupted with participation in Platoon (1986) by Oliver Stone, a war film about the war in Vietnam with which Dafoe not only won the role of “good”, but also an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
With success, the actor is offered another opportunity to show his versatility with The last temptation of Christ (1988) by Martin Scorsese, who chooses to cast him in the role of Jesus after appreciating him in Platoon, calling him “explosive in his sacrificial will”. Dafoe thus passes from the bad boy of the cinema to the interpretation of the Messiah, followed by some minor roles that lead him to collaborate with the then very young Tom Cruise is Johnny Depp in Born on the 4th of July (1989) with the first and in Cry Baby (1990) with the second. The nineties, however, saw him fall into the role of the bad guy who corrupts Nicolas Cage in Wild Heart (1990) by David Lynch, seeking redemption in The dealer (1992) by Paul Schrader and in a Machiavellian personification of Time in So far so close (1993) by Wim Wenders. These are alternated with more good-natured and sometimes naive characters as in Body of Evidence – The body of the crime (1993) with Madonna is Under the sign of danger (1994) with Harrison Ford.
Thanks to the popularity achieved during this decade, he is engaged year after year in films of different genres, from the bio-pic The English patient (1996) to thriller Speed 2 – Unlimited (1997), up to the dramatic Affliction (1997). In this period he also knows Abel Ferrara with whom he will work in sci-fi New Rose Hotel (1998), from which a great artistic partnership will be born that will bring to light films such as Go Go Tales (2007) and Pasolini (2014). Yet the 90s are not the most challenging decade for Dafoe, which will see the 2000s absorb him totally.
The third millennium opens with the participation in the cult movie American Psyco (2000), next to Christian Bale, Jared Leto is Reese Witherspoon in the role of detective Donald Kimball on the trail of the mysterious serial killer. In 2001 he received his second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor with the interpretation of Max Schreck The shadow of the vampire, with which he won other prizes including a Saturn and a Satellite Award. The following year he returned to be directed by Schrader – director who will direct it other times, most recently in noir Dog eat dog (2016) – in Auto Focus, but it is also the year in which he depopulated at the cinema with one of the roles that will remain most painted on him, that of Green Goblin in Spider-Man (2002) of Sam Raimi, with which he will also appear in the sequels Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007).
These are the years in which he works with great international directors: with Robert Rodriguez for Once upon a time in Mexico (2003), once again with Scorsese for The Aviator (2004) and in 2006 he is in the thriller Inside Man of Spike Lee. In addition, another collaboration begins with one of the most controversial contemporary filmmakers, Lars von Trier, with Manderlay (2005), an association that will continue in Antichrist (2009) and with the duo Nymphomaniac – Vol. I (2013) and Nymphomaniac – Vol. II (2013). The Danish director is not the only one who appreciates Dafoe’s acting skills before him Wes Anderson he had wanted it in the play The aquatic adventures of Steve Zissou (2004) and then reconfirmed it in Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014; same choice as Paul Weitz, with whom he will work both in the satirical American Dreamz (2006) and in fantasy Vampire help (2009). After taking part in the collective film, presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, Paris, je t’aime (2006), joins the cast of the British Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007) as a director trying to bring a masterpiece to Cannes with the help of the topical character of Rowan Atkinson, proving once again to be a valid lever for comedy.
Dafoe closes the first decade of the 2000s with My Son, My Son, What Here Ye Done (2009), drama directed by Werner Herzog and inspired by a news story that really happened. Back to work with Bale in The fire of revenge (2013), thriller in which they also appear Woody Harrelson is Casey Affleck, followed by participations in blockbusters of the caliber of John Wick (2014), Blame the stars (2014) and The Great Wall (2016). 2017 sees him engaged on three fronts: he is Professor Gerhard Hardman in Murder on the Orient Express of Kenneth Branagh, the father of the seven protagonists of Seven Sisters and finally a manager of a hotel in A dream called Florida, role with which the actor was Oscar nominee 2018 For the third time.
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THE MOST RECENT FILMS BY WILLEM DAFOE
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
His Last Thing He Wanted
Nightmare Alley …