Willem Dafoe talks one-man film ‘Inside,’ explains why he makes such originals: ‘I’m not trying to sell anything’

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in Willem Dafoe Inside. (Photo: © Courtesy of Focus Features / The 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 an art thief who becomes trapped in a billionaire’s deserted New York penthouse, increasingly desperate to survive as the days pass with minimal food and water. Is. And despite its one-man 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 dramaturgy, a certain kind of conventional 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 is not, at least to Defoe’s knowledge, are some unexpected tributes. finding Nemo, More than one YouTuber, however, has 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 (though you can imagine what happens to a starving art 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: © Courtesy of Focus Features / The Everett Collection)

Inside Dafoe continues a remarkable run 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 credit 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’ve always wanted to find a way to revisit myself, or revisit what I do. So when I see opportunities to do so, 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 know these things [online] Because people tell me. I don’t try to find them, but sometimes when people tell me I get sucked checking them out.

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and yes, he gets his text smile man GIF.

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

Inside Opens in theaters March 17.

watch the trailer: