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.[0]

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.’”[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

Lanthimos commented that Dafoe's actions were what he desired from actors.[3] I desire to be involved in some capacity.[6]

0. “Willem Dafoe Had Emma Stone Slap Him 20 Times While Filming ‘And’ So Off-Camera Scene Would Look More Genuine” Yahoo Entertainment, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/willem-dafoe-had-emma-stone-014218910.html

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

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