Willem Dafoe Made Emma Stone Slap Him 20 Times While Filming, Even Though He Was Off Camera: ‘That’s What You Want From Actors’
Emma Stone hasn’t acted in a film since 2021’s “Cruella,” but that will soon change thanks to two new collaborations with her “The Favourite” director Yorgos Lanthimos. The first is “Poor Things,” a Frankenstein-inspired story in which Stone plays a woman whose brain gets replaced by that of her unborn child, and the second is “And,” plot details for which remain under wraps. In both films, Stone stars opposite Willem Dafoe. But it was only “And” that required Stone to slap Dafoe across the face 20 times.
In a new Dafoe profile published by The New York Times, it’s revealed that Dafoe asked to be slapped repeatedly for a scene in which he does not even appear on camera. Stone slaps Dafoe’s character, who is off camera in the shot. But that didn’t stop Dafoe from wanting to be present on set even though he wasn’t required to be there.
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“That’s what you want from actors,” Lanthimos said about Dafoe being on set even when he’s not in the shot. “To want to be part of it in any way.”
“There’s this instinct to perform that many actors have — the ‘look at me, look at me!’ kind of performer,” Stone added. “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.’”
“Poor Things” will most likely arrive in theaters ahead of “And.” Both films have the backing of Searchlight Pictures, which previously released Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” in 2018 to the tune of $95 million worldwide and 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. Stone earned a nomination in the supporting actress category for her work on “The Favourite,” while Olivia Colman won the best actress prize.
Dafoe next stars in Focus Features’ thriller “Inside,” opening in theaters March 17.
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