Willem Dafoe sticking to cinema despite TV's rise

·2-min read

Willem Dafoe plans to stick to starring in feature films, despite the rise of prestige TV dramas.

The Lighthouse actor has rarely worked in television, with him last appearing in a scripted series back in 1986, when he had a role in the horror anthology show The Hitchhiker.

Explaining while he's still a man who prioritises cinema, Dafoe told IndieWire, "The one thing that remains pretty consistent is stuff that's narrative-based - where it's based on writers and characters - that's for TV.

"While I think cinema can do very well with those things, it can also go beyond that. It can bend time and deal with image, sound, colour, all those poetic properties that are harder to define."

The veteran actor also prefers working with a director with a singular vision - like his friend, Abel Ferrara, who helms his latest project, Siberia - rather than a team of writers and multiple directors.

"I've done very little television, but they're run by showrunners and change directors," he mused. "I remain very much a person who loves to give myself to a director, doing their bidding or inhabiting what they need me to do. That's freedom for me, service for me, enjoyment for me."

However, the star admitted that viewing habits are changing - but thinks it's a "shame" people may not be able to see movies like his acclaimed 2019 film The Lighthouse in a cinema in the future.

"Maybe this is something that will win in our society given the technology that people are growing up with," he mourned. "But it's a very simple thing: We lose that ability to pay attention for long periods of time and to go places when we don't know how it will serve us."

Siberia, which premiered on the film festival circuit last year, is only now getting a wide release following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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