Willem Dafoe’s Commitment to Authenticity: Slapping Himself 20 Times for a Scene with Emma Stone
In a profile interview with Willem Dafoe published by The New York Times, it’s revealed that the actor was “self-motivating to set” while filming Yorgos Lanthimos’ upcoming anthology film “And” alongside Emma Stone. The actor who is known for his roles in Spider-Man and The Lighthouse asked Stone to slap him 20 times off-camera to make a scene in their new movie feel more authentic.
The film, which is being released by Searchlight Pictures, is one of two new movies from The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos, which Stone is fronting. The first is “Poor Things”, a story inspired by the classic Frankenstein tale, and the second is “And”. Dafoe’s latest movie, Inside, is out March 17.
Stone told the Times of working with Dafoe: “There’s this instinct to perform that many actors have — the ‘look at me, look at me!’ kind of performer. 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.’”
In her article, Susan Dominus wrote that Dafoe asserted that the action would appear more realistic if he were really hit, and he endured a (staged) hit around 20 times.
Though it wasn't necessary for him to be on set that day, Dafoe was determined to be a part of the scene, and Lanthimos expressed admiration for the actor's commitment.
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1. “Emma Stone slaps Willem Dafoe 20 times off camera in new Yorgos Lanthimos film ‘And’” Far Out Magazine, 3 Mar. 2023, https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/emma-stone-slaps-willem-dafoe/
2. “Hollywood: Willem Dafoe made Emma Stone slap him 20 times while filming ‘And'” Gulf News, 3 Mar. 2023, https://gulfnews.com/entertainment/hollywood/hollywood-willem-dafoe-made-emma-stone-slap-him-20-times-while-filming-and-1.1677831097991
3. “Willem Dafoe insisted Emma Stone slap him 20 times for new movie” Insider, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.insider.com/willem-dafoe-insisted-emma-stone-slap-him-20-times-2023-3
4. “Willem Dafoe made Emma Stone slap him 20 times on ‘And’ set” AOL, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.aol.com/news/willem-dafoe-made-emma-stone-063222336.html
5. “Willem Dafoe made Emma Stone slap him 20 times while filming” NME, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.nme.com/news/film/willem-dafoe-made-emma-stone-slap-him-20-times-while-filming-3407701
6. “Willem Dafoe Made Emma Stone Slap Him 20 Times While Filming, Even Though He Was Off Camera: ‘That’s What You Want From Actors’” Yahoo Entertainment, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/willem-dafoe-made-emma-stone-225007342.html