Willem Dafoe On 'Dog Eat Dog' And The Possibility Of Playing Joker

Why so serious?
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Let’s put a smile on that face.

In his latest movie, “Dog Eat Dog,” actor Willem Dafoe plays a psychotic criminal named Mad Dog. It’s a character description Dafoe’s become known for. Though he’s played similarly deranged roles over the years, the actor tells The Huffington Post that he was drawn to the complexity of the character.

“Yes, he does these vicious things, but a lot of the times when we see him he’s very vulnerable and very needy and insecure, and the combination of those two things is interesting,” said Dafoe.

As we mentioned, Dafoe’s played crazy before. But there’s one wild character the actor has yet to portray on the big screen:

For a while now, fans have called on Dafoe to play Batman’s nemesis Joker, and when we asked Dafoe about the possibility, he was well aware of it.

“People have been asking me for years,” the actor said. Though, you probably shouldn’t expect him to take on the Clown Prince of Crime’s persona anytime soon.

“It’s hard to imagine because there’s so many versions. It’s hypothetical. I haven’t thought about it. And right now I’m in the DC Comics world playing a character in ‘Justice League,’ so I’m doing something else, and I’ve also been Green Goblin, so who knows?” Dafoe added.

So much for all those theories that Dafoe was secretly playing Joker in “Justice League.” But fans should take comfort in the fact that the actor never shut the door on playing the character sometime in the future. Like he says, “Who knows?”

Below, our Q&A with the actor:

In “Dog Eat Dog,” there are three characters who get together to pull off crimes. Troy (Nic Cage) is the brains, Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) is the muscle, Mad Dog is, well, the mad dog. Out of you, Nic Cage and director Paul Schrader, who’s the Troy, Diesel and Mad Dog?

That’s a tough one. Maybe Paul would be Troy, Nic would be Mad Dog, and I’d be Diesel.

One of the running jokes is the guys don’t get Taylor Swift.

It’s not even so much that they don’t get it. I think it’s kind of an envy and rage at him not knowing what people are talking about. It’s another piece of alienation. [Mad Dog] is a guy that has gotten out of prison. He’s been out for a while, but he’s obviously not educated. He’s obviously spent a lot of his life in prison, so he knows that world, but the outside world — what people are talking about — he’s got no idea. He’s got a big chip on his shoulder like, “What are these people talking about? Everybody talking about Taylor Swift? Who the fuck is she?” I think it’s kind of cute and kind of topical. You gotta be careful with that stuff, but I think what it expresses and what rings true is this kind of rage and envy at celebrity and for being out of the loop.

What do you think about the Taylor Swift phenomenon?

I probably don’t know Taylor Swift’s music as much as ... listen, I know Bob Dylan better than Taylor Swift.

If you and Nic Cage ever actually got together and wanted to do a heist, what would you go for?

[Laugh] I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Deep down we’re two big sissies.

What’s your favorite on-set story from working with Nic and your director, Paul?

There was a wacky thing about how we had this baby, and we were dealing with this baby, and Nic was a little nervous and he wanted to find some action ... and he’s like, “Where’s the pacifier? What’s that thing you put in your mouth?” And Mad Dog kind of being single-minded about various things, Nic says, “What’s that thing you put in your mouth?” And I said, “A dick?” We did that in rehearsal. It’s totally nonsensical, totally stupid. I said, “Guys, you can’t say that.” And Nic and Paul loved it so much they said, “Yes, yes we can.” As it plays in the film, I’m not so sure.

For people who don’t know anything about the original book, Dog Eat Dog, what can you expect from this movie?

It’s not your normal crime thriller. It’s extreme. It’s transgressive. It’s kind of fun. It’s a black comedy. I think all of those things. Paul said for some people it’s going to be “transgressive fun,” and for people that don’t know what transgressive means, I think it’s just going to be fun!

“Dog Eat Dog” hits theaters in LA and NY on Nov. 4. Theatrical expansion and VOD on Nov. 11.

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