Willem Dafoe on why his new one-man film ‘Inside’ is being compared to ‘Finding Nemo’

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in Willem Dafoe Inside. (Photo: Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Willem Dafoe is so beloved among movie buffs that it’s hard to imagine anyone would mind his new movie Inside There is only one central actor: Willem Dafoe.

Four-time Oscar nominee Nemo plays an thief who becomes trapped in a billionaire’s deserted New York City penthouse, increasingly desperate to survive as the days pass with minimal food and water. Is. And despite its one- cast, the Vassilis Katsupis-directed thriller is still perfectly taut, thanks to Dafoe’s bold, characteristically committed performance.

“It’s a different way of working, and everything I’m doing is action-based, and physical, and those are both things I feel very comfortable with,” Dafoe, 67, told Yahoo Entertainment explains in a new interview. “A certain kind of theatricality, a certain kind of traditional visual work is thrown out. In this case, it is salvation. You have to find another way to express things, and finding that way was part of our job.” (See full interview below.)

What the film doesn’t, at least to the knowledge of Defoe, is a somewhat unexpected tribute. finding Nemo, However, more than a couple YouTubers have pointed out the curious similarities between Katsoupis’ arthouse thriller and the Pixar 2003 animated favorite. Defoe’s character is named Nemo. He’s essentially trapped in a glass box. There’s even a blue hippo tang fish like Dory (but you can imagine what happens to a starving thief). Dafoe also provided the voice for a fish, the Moorish idol gill. finding Nemo and its 2016 sequel finding Dory,

“Can I tell you something? I didn’t even know this character was named Nemo,” Dafoe admitted. “It didn’t end there. It’s only after the fact that people started talking about, ‘Hey, did you see there was a clown fish like that? [Or] Identifying all tropical fish in the tank finding Nemo,

Inside, Willem Dafoe, 2023.  Courtesy of Focus Features / Everett Collection

willem dafoe in a scene Inside. (Photo: Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Inside Dafoe continues a remarkable of high-quality, deeply original films Florida Project (2017) and vox lux from (2018) Electricity house (2019), nightmare street (2021) and the northman (2022). To what does he attribute his ability to find such prodigious work?

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“I have an excellent agent and an excellent manager. I love them, but I also read a lot,” says Defoe. “I investigate things. I try to think outside the box. I try to do what’s right for me and not take the industry standard or do what my colleagues do, necessarily. It Sounds a little full of myself, but no, I read a lot. I do. And I’m always looking for things that excite me. I love working and the great thing about… I always want to find a way to see myself again, or see what I do again. So when I get opportunities to do that, I usually jump at them. That’s why I always I keep looking

“I don’t have anything to sell. I love being on a film set. I love the collaborative nature of it. I love the social aspect of it, and it’s an adventure. Every day is different from the one before. But. Somewhere deep down, I’m always looking for something that will inspire me and make me do something I haven’t done before. Because god knows we all need a kick in the pants.

Online, people have long freaked out over the viral GIF of Dafoe sitting in the backseat of a car, with wild eyes and a manic smile, as the camera slowly zooms in on him. And although it’s one of the most common images you’ll see of him, it’s actually one of his least-seen projects: a 2013 short film Dafoe said the smile manDirected by Anton Lanshakov.

“It’s a short film I made as part of this contest that gave money to young filmmakers to make these short films,” he says. “I am aware of these things [online] Because people tell me. I don’t try to find them, but sometimes when people tell me I get sucked into investigating them.

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and yes, he gets his text smile GIF.

“Oh yeah,” he laughs. “It’s usually family or someone who is tickled by it and wants to share it.”

Inside Opens in theaters Friday, March 17.

watch the trailer: