Willem Dafoe booking
His on-screen death in ‘Platoon’ has become an iconic image of cinema. The wiry, yoga-practicing
actor has since made a career playing menacing villains in blockbusters such as ‘Spider-Man’. Willem
Dafoe was considered an all-round good student and, by the age of 17, he was happily enrolled at the
University of Wisconsin studying drama. However, several differences in opinion led to him leaving the
course early to join an experimental theatre troupe and tour Europe. Having retuned from the tour, he
found himself penniless in New York and a part of the Performance Group. More experimental theatre
led to the forming of the Wooster Group with his partner Elizabeth LeCompte.
Dafoe’s first lead film role was in ‘The Loveless’ as the leader of a biker gang and although subsequent
roles helped raise his profile, they did little to make him a huge star. However, in 1985 he starred ‘To
Live And Die In L.A’ and the following year in Oliver Stone’s epic ‘Platoon’. Both films proved to be
great successes and catapulted him into the mainstream, with ‘Platoon’ earning him an Oscar
nomination. Roles in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Last Temptation Of Christ’, ‘Mississippi Burning’ and ‘Born
On The Fourth Of July’ only helped cement his position as one of Hollywood’s strongest character
actors. In 1993, he cropped up in a doomed Madonna project, ‘Body of Evidence’, a film about a young
woman charged with murdering her elderly lover using sex as her weapon. The film was panned by
critics and cinema goers alike. However, proving that you can’t keep a good actor down, he bounced
back with some sterling performances in ‘The English Patient’, ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control’ and
‘Affliction’. Several projects followed before he impressed critics with his performance in the 2000
horror film ‘Shadow of the Vampire’, which earned him a Saturn Award for Best Actor and a Phoenix
Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was also nominated for an Academy Award.
Dafoe’s portrayal of the arch-villain The Green Goblin in ‘Spider-Man’ was another huge success that
added to an already impressive list of Hollywood blockbusters and led to an MTV Award for Best
Villain nomination in 2002. He was also in contention for a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for
Best Supporting Actor for his part in ‘Auto Focus’ in the same year. He also had a voice role in the
ultra-successful computer animated comedy drama ‘Finding Nemo’.
His talent as an actor allowed him to continue taking on a wide variety of roles, making appearances in
movies such as ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’, ‘The Aviator’ and ‘Ripley Under Ground’. In 2006,
he played NYPD detective Stan Aubray on the hunt for a serial killer, the lead in New York-set thriller
‘Anamorph’, opposite Scott Speedman and Peter Stormare. He also starred alongside Rowan
Atkinson in the sequel to 1997′s ‘Bean’, ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’, which was followed by a third
appearance in ‘Spider-Man 3′. Dafoe’s hard work and popularity among filmmakers was highlighted by
his involvement in no less than a dozen releases between 2008 and 2010. The diverse projects
ranged from ‘Fireflies in the Garden’, ‘Adam Resurrected’ and ‘Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s
Assistant’, to ‘The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day’, ‘My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done’ and
‘The Wild Bunch’. Boasting more than 80 titles to his name from a career spanning three decades,
Dafoe has managed to avoid many of the scandals that seem to plague a lot of his fellow high fliers.
He is married to Italian actress and director Giada Colagrande. However, he also has a son, Jack, with
ex-girlfriend Elizabeth LeCompte.
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