With over 150 IMDb credits to his name, Willem Dafoe simply loves to work. According to a new profile for The New York Times’ T Magazine, this includes hanging out on set even when he isn’t going to be filming. While the plot details of And, a new project from The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos, are still being kept under wraps, the article offers up some anecdotes from behind the scenes.
Co-star Emma Stone, who previously received an Oscar nomination for her role in Lanthimos’ The Favourite, has a scene where her character slaps Dafoe’s. While Dafoe was not going to be on camera for the shot, the Florida Project actor “insisted” on standing by to help make it look more real and took the staged hit for 20 takes.
“That’s what you want from actors,” Lanthimos tells T Magazine. “To want to be part of it in any way.”
And co-stars Jesse Plemons and Margaret Qualley. Dafoe, Stone, and Qualley also recently teamed up with Lanthimos for Poor Things, an adaptation of Alisdair Gray’s Frankenstein-inspired novel. Per Variety, Poor Things is likely to hit theaters before And.
“There’s this instinct to perform that many actors have — the ‘look at me, look at me!’ kind of performer,” says Stone. “He’s the opposite of that. Maybe it’s changed through the years. A lot of actors I bond with have been doing this for a long time, and you know they’ve gone from ‘I’ to ‘We.’”
Being a team player has been an asset in Dafoe’s roles in big ensembles from Spider-Man to The Grand Budapest Hotel. However, his new film Inside focuses on what he can do all by himself, as he plays an art thief who gets trapped alone inside a luxurious apartment by the owner’s smart devices. Arriving in theaters on March 17, The A.V. Club calls it “a perfect pairing of actor and material.”