Posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 by Jack Giroux
Willem Dafoe wants to see my face.
During a Zoom call, the video is not working at the start of the interview. Finally, once Dafoe and I connect face-to-face, he explains, “It’s important.” And it is important. Seeing how someone reacts, what lights them up, or what disinterests them, matters during an interview. When you’re interviewing Dafoe, you’re talking to a real conversationalist, somebody who feels completely present. You want to see that, not just hear it.
The interview is for the actor’s sixth collaboration with Abel Ferrara, Siberia. It’s a dream, or nightmare, of a film. It’s tricky to put into words or boxes. It’s a dream narrative you’re reacting to, not consciously analyzing. In other words, another project well-suited to Dafoe’s approach to performing, which as he told us, isn’t about calculation, but intuition.
Truly, acting is reacting for Dafoe.