Paul Schrader Told Willem Dafoe That Great Actors Are ‘Like Farm Animals’
“They like to work,” Dafoe recalled Schrader’s analogy.
Willem Dafoe played a goblin, a rat, a fool and a fish, but according to Paul Schrader, these are all part of a great actor’s career. Dafoe, who most recently stars as a trapped artificer in the claustrophobic psychological thriller “Inside,” revealed that Oscar-winner Schrader told him it was the best compliment to be compared to a farm animal.
“Paul Schrader says that every actor is like a farm animal,” Dafoe said The New York Times Style Magazine“I want to work.”
Schrader directed Dafoe in 1992’s Light Sleeper. Overall, Dafoe has worked with authors Wes Anderson, Robert Eggers, Abel Ferrara and Yorgos Lanthimos on several films.
“When you start out, you feel like any movie can ruin you,” Dafoe said. “Now I can take more risks.”
One such risk includes leading Lanthimos’ surreal film “And” opposite Emma Stone, who praised Dafoe’s approach to work. “A lot of actors have that performing instinct — the ‘look at me, look at me!’ a kind of performer. He is the opposite of that,” she said.
Director Lanthimos added, “That’s what you want from actors, to want to be a part of it in any way you can.”
Dafoe previously told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn that he can only prepare so much for roles and likes to leave some room for improvisation.
“My problem is that I like to prepare for work, but you can only prepare so much, and once you’re prepared, you might throw it all away when you get there,” Dafoe said in June 2021. “You’re just getting ready to relax and prepare. participate, so when opportunities arise, you can take them thoughtfully and really play.”
The ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ star continued: ‘Projects vary in size. It feels very open. There’s nothing I love more than having a lot of work ahead of me. Acting and filming are still a mystery to me. Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to have things stirred up. The day I stop dealing with people who are interested in working with me, I have to reevaluate everything… I’d rather do something that challenges and surprises me.”
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