- Willem Dafoe is known for his distinctive and iconic face, making him instantly recognizable in all his roles.
- Dafoe’s ability to switch between personas without relying on makeup or special effects was showcased in his role as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Spider-Man.
- The actor first learned about the uniqueness of his face when strangers on a New York subway recognized him and commented on his distinct appearance.
Willem Dafoe, a veteran actor known for his distinctive and iconic face, didn’t realize how unique his appearance was until an encounter on the New York subway. In an interview for the Today show, the star of Poor Things shared the story of that pivotal moment in his life.
With a career spanning from his uncredited debut in Heaven’s Gate in 1980 to his upcoming role as Prof. Albin Eberhart Von Franz in Robert Eggers’ remake of Nosferatu, Dafoe has always been very recognizable. His role as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was particularly memorable, as he switched effortlessly between the two personas without makeup or special effects.
Dafoe mentioned on Today that he became aware of his distinctive appearance during a subway trip with his son in New York, when some rough-looking men were staring at him. He was worried they might rob him when he overheard one of them say, “Yeah, gotta be him. Nobody looks like that motherf***er!”
Since reprising his role as Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021, Dafoe has starred in 10 movies, including Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, Poor Things, and the English dub of The Boy and the Heron. The actor also has several high-profile projects in the pipeline, such as Robert Eggers’ Nosferatu and the sequel to Beetlejuice.
Poor Things, a film in which Dafoe underwent extensive makeup sessions, is currently playing in theaters. Fans of his Green Goblin performances can find Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: No Way Home streaming on Netflix.