Willem Dafoe is in Martin Scorsese’s latest, The Irishman. But, it would only be a matter of time before someone asked the former Green Goblin about the state of superhero films. Especially, in such close proximity to a Scorsese production. 92Y in New York brought a chance for a crew to ask him some questions in Aquaman recently. (Seeing a how his experience in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies was a long time ago at this point, but he talked about them too!) The actor is still clearly having fun with a lot of these roles in the world of capes and spandex. But, he worries that there’s a little bit too much flash going on in the modern superhero blockbuster. That along with the need for different variations on these characters is what proves most pressing for Dafoe.
“You have fun with some of the things that you get to do, because there’s lots of hardware and there’s lots of crazy crane shots and those kind of things,” Willem Dafoe. “That’s fun. But stuff is overshot. They spend a lot of money on big set pieces, because that’s what delivers the action, and I they’re too noisy. But let’s not get into this [laughs]. I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me. But, no, seriously, folks. Look, those aren’t the movies I run to.”
He continued, “I like James Wan. I think he’s a good filmmaker and he was kind of amazing that he could do this big stuff, and he could also talk to the actors.”
Dafoe had to chime in on the Martin Scorsese discourse as well. The debate around whether Marvel movies are cinema or not has been raging since the director made those comments to Empire magazine. Everyone that’s ever breathed on a superhero movie set has had to answer this question and it came for the veteran actor as well.
“Films have changed so much even in the time that I’ve been working, where they sit in the culture, obviously, and how we watch films,” Dafoe started. “And I’m a pretty forward-looking person, but I’m old-fashioned in the fact that nothing beats being in a dark room with a bunch of strangers, watching a light on a screen and having the experience,” Dafoe said. “I think as everybody gets punched out from too much stuff on TV, too many choices, they’re gonna want that. So it may be a more marginalized thing, but I think it’ll always be there.”
Lots of concern has been lobbied about the risk of these movies becoming stale and the question of if they muscle auteur work out of their spots in theaters.
“What I worry about is, those big movies, they need something to feed them. They need a surge, and they need people pushing the boundaries so they can go forward. Because they’re not in the business of going forward, really,” he added. “They’re in the business of business, and you can make beautiful things because they have a lot of resources. They can make fantastic things and they can make things that work all over the world because very few other countries have that kind of muscle to make these spectacular things. And they’ve touched on comic book movies which have kind of a Joseph Campbell thing going, they’re our modern gods. But I don’t have anything, really, intelligent to say about this [laughs].”