Red Carpet: Willem Dafoe at the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival in Lars von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’

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CHICAGO – Willem Dafoe, the intense and excitable actor in so many classic films, walked the red carpet at the Chicago International Film Festival October 12th, representing the premiere of his new film with director Lars von Trier, “Antichrist.” was on the scene, and spoke briefly with Willem Dafoe.

Neither Hero nor Villain: Willem Dafoe at the Chicago International Film Festival, October 12, 2009.
Neither Hero nor Villain: Willem Dafoe at the Chicago International Film Festival, October 12, 2009.
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for What was the most pleasant thing about working with Lars Van Trier?

Willem Dafoe: I’ve worked with him before and although he has the reputation as a bit of a monster, but for me he is a sweetheart. The most surprising thing is that he is really sincere, he really gives himself to the work without condition. I met few people who really do it as he does, which really goes against his reputation as a an intellectual, sly and glib.

This was a very passionate, personal and sincere project, and whether you like it or not, it’s nice to be around someone who is smart and knows how to make films. It gives your job more importance because you’re entrusted with this precious thing.

HC: You seem to be pursuing roles of variety and depth. How would you describe the way you control your own destiny in your career path?

WD: I don’t, nobody does. Everyone that thinks they do, it’s an illusion. Even the 20 million dollar guys. Projects find you and you find projects. You can say no and you do say no. It’s always a combination of flukey things.

I do cultivate relationships. And once I like someone, I go towards them. And once I have a good time working with them, if it makes sense, I will work with them again.

HC Which type of character do you find personally more interesting and why – the hero or the villain?

WD: I don’t know what hero and villain is. I like to think I play heroic bad guys and villainous heroes (laughs). I think the most interesting characters are the ones that don’t share my take on life. It’s a perspective you have to go towards, and inhabit. If you can connect with someone else’s point of view it’s a thrilling thing that happens. You leave yourself behind, and I don’t know how deep it runs, but it feels like transformation.’s Brian Tallerico has a full interview with Willem Dafoe next week, in anticipation of the release of “Antichrist” on October 23rd. The Chicago International Film Festival runs until October 22th. Click here for details. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2009 Patrick McDonald,

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