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One World Pop Culture

The Unexpected Outcome

Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe never set out to be a famous actor; he wasn’t a child who dreamed of a reputation in Hollywood. In fact, growing up, he didn’t really have an answer for those who asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. For Willem, it was more of a progression from one project to another without a clear desire to turn it into a larger career. But a career is precisely what it became. In this episode, Willem Dafoe discusses his work, the art of acting and how he approaches each new role.

“I believe very much in apprenticeship; I believe very much in being around people that are doing the things that you want to do and learning from them.” It is sound advice for any career and if Dafoe’s illustrious career is any indication; it works.

26:11 | 2014

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About Willem Dafoe

William James "Willem" Dafoe is an American-Italian actor. He is known for his distinct gravelly voice, versatility and willingness to appear in controversial roles, has received multiple accolades, including nominations for four Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. Dafoe made his film debut in Heaven’s Gate (1980) and appeared in numerous other movies in the early 1980s. He gained prominence for his role in To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), in which he played a counterfeiter attempting to elude capture by the police. Perhaps his best-known role was as Sgt. Elias Grodin in Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986), which earned Dafoe his first Academy Award nomination.

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