Willem Dafoe Let Emma Stone Slap Him 20 Times For A Scene He Wasn’t Even In

willem dafoe and emma stone


The word icon may be tossed around far too much in our culture these days, but when it comes to the singular Willem Dafoe, it’s the truth.

Not only has the 67-year-old been nominated for four Academy Awards, but he’s worked with noted auteurs such as Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Paul Schrader, Yorgos Lanthimos, Julian Schnabel, Abel Ferrara, Lars von Trier, Sam Raimi, and Robert Eggers along the way.

Dafoe isn’t just an indie legend though, as he’s also starred in a bevy of massive blockbusters such as John Wick, Finding Nemo, Aquaman, and, of course, as Green Goblin in the Spider-Man franchise.

In addition to being a generationally talented actor (not just anyone can not only make it, but thrive, in Hollywood for 40-plus years), Dafore is also, by all accounts, an awesome dude. Just ask Oscar winner Emma Stone, who is working alongside Dafore in Lanthimos’ new film And.

According to Stone — speaking to the New York Times for a profile about the beloved actor — Dafoe let her slap him in the face *20 times* for a shot. Now, considering this is on a movie set, that doesn’t seem all that strange, right? Actors do stuff like that, and far more fantastical things, all the time.

But Dafore isn’t even in the scene. He wasn’t even supposed to be on set that day, but he showed up anyway to help the rest of the cast get into character.

In one scene, Stone’s character is seen slapping Dafoe’s, who’s meant to be off camera; ordinarily, Stone would make the gesture without an actor present, but Dafoe insisted that the move would look more genuine if he were actually being slapped, and then took the (staged) blow some 20 times.

“There’s this instinct to perform that many actors have — the ‘look at me, look at me!’ kind of performer,” Stone said. “He’s the opposite of that.” [via New York Times]

As for what Dafoe has got cooking this year, he’s the lead of the upcoming film Inside, which will hit theaters on March 17, and is starring in Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City alongside a bevy of other A-listers.

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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him eric@brobible.com