The Batman star Robert Pattinson and previous Green Goblin Willem Dafoe are two mainstream stars who cemented their status as esteemed actors by working on small budget, indie films, before making the jump to blockbuster superhero fare. While talking about their newest low-budget psycho-drama, The Lighthouse, Pattinson revealed that he had spoken to Dafoe about his method of juggling the two types of cinema.
"Actually, I did talk to him about the Green Goblin. Because he really, really wanted to do it. He said he was auditioning for it, and really, really went after it. And I was like: it's interesting - I think a lot of actors who've done loads of stuff, it's like, they come to you."
Willem Dafoe, of course, will forever be considered comic book royalty for his villainous turn in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movie as well as his supporting role in Aquaman. The interview further reveals that Dafoe's involvement in Spider-Man came out of a feeling of genuine enthusiasm for the part rather than the desire for an easy paycheck.
"He was saying, 'People didn't really understand why I liked that character so much. It's just a great, great character.' It's kind of how I feel about Batman."
The comic book movie industry is still plagued by perceptions among critics that it does not qualify as 'serious cinema', which is why many actors who are drawn towards more cerebral, character-driven fare, look down their noses at those who would participate in superhero films. For Dafoe, however, such considerations were best left ignored, and he joined the film for "a combination of keeping things interesting, and not repeating yourself," at a time when superhero films found even fewer takers in cinema's artistic circles.
"The Green Goblin, I look back on it, and you've got to remember: that [comic-book movies] wasn't an industry at that moment. That was like a new kind of thing to do... But I do recall, at the time, some people that know me more from, you know, the independent world or art films, who were rolling their eyes, like: 'What would you want to do a comic-book movie for?' But I've never been a snob that way. I like to mix it up."
Fortunately, brilliant actors like Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are able to look past the snobbery that exists in certain circles and understand the possibilities of interesting and challenging filmmaking that superhero films can offer in the right hands. While it is true that many superhero flicks get lost amidst giant explosions and CGI, some passionate filmmakers used their resources to make thoughtful films like The Dark Knight, Joker, and Logan.
Even Dafoe's turn in Spider-Man drew praise from critics when the movie first came out, because of the total commitment to the role that the actor displayed instead of treating the performance as below his stature. Hopefully, Robert Pattinson will follow Dafoe's example and put in the same kind of effort for The Batman, to give us a memorable interpretation of The Dark Knight. This comes from Games Radar.