There are actors considered box office superstars, whose very name on the marquee can guarantee a movie tens of millions of dollars of business in a single weekend. Then there are the workhorses, the hard working actors who play supporting roles in those bigger movies and look for interesting projects that give them a chance to experiment with their craft.
In the latter category, you really can get no better than Willem Dafoe who has worked with some of the greats like Scorsese and Olver Stone and Sam Raimi and has shown he’s comfortable whether leading a movie, playing a smaller role or even playing a performance capture Martian as he does in Andrew Stanton’s recent John Carter. Certainly some of Dafoe’s more interesting work has been in smaller indie films like Lars von Trier’s Antichrist and by coincidence, Dafoe is headlining two such movies which played on the festival circuit and are being released next month, one with a director he has worked with previously, the other with an Australian filmmaker.
Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 Last Day on Earth is Dafoe’s third time around with the eclectic New York filmmaker who directed the original Bad Lieutenant and King of New York, this one involving an actor and his artist girlfriend (Shanyn Leigh) as they cope with the world ending the following morning and trying to use their valuable time as best they can.
Daniel Nettheim’s The Hunter, based on the novel by Julia Leigh, takes Dafoe into the wilds of Tasmania, as he plays Martin, a hunter hired to track down a rare Tasmanian Tiger, whose DNA could be used for scientific purposes. Once there, he quickly gets wrapped up in the lives of the family of a scientist who previously went looking for the beast and the conspiracy surrounding his disappearance.
They’re two very different movies but both great showcases for Dafoe’s talents as an actor, which has helped add to the niche he’s created for himself being able to headline smaller character-driven genre movies like these.
When ComingSoon.net spoke with Dafoe for John Carter a few weeks back, we only got a few minutes with him, but with two more movies out in the next month, this felt like as good a time as any for a longer interview and in the video below, we spoke with Dafoe about:
* How he got involved with The Hunter
* Whether there was any trepidation about being out in the wild or working with kids
* Talking about how Daniel found the kids
* Learning how to set traps and be convincing as a hunter
* Whether he’s generally nature-oriented
* Working from a script with very little dialogue
* Making a movie out in the wilds of Tasmania
* Reuniting with Abel Ferrara for “4:44”
* How the film developed into something that interested him
* Whether there’s a lot of rehearsing or workshopping before filming
* Working with edgy filmmakers like Ferrara and Lars von Trier – we also ask whether he might work with the latter again
* Talking about working with Stephen Sommers on Odd Thomas, based on the Dean Koontz novel, although he says there’s a lot of FX work that might keep it from appearing at festivals this year
And lots more!
4:44 Last Day on Earth opens on Friday, March 23 in select cities as well as debuting On Demand, while The Hunter is now paying on VOD but will get a theatrical release in New York and Washington D.C. on April 6 and other cities in the weeks that follow. You can see where and when it’s playing in your area at the Official Site.