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Two Things You Should Know About Willem Dafoe: He Thinks xXx2: State of the Union was Great, and He is a Terrible Judge of What’s “Great”

July 24, 2009

UK’s entertainment supersite DigitalSpy recently ran an interview with actor Willem Dafoe concerning the upcoming Britain release of Lars Von Trier’s controversial mutilation/torture indie Antichrist, which drew both accolades and spit-takes at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The interview was much as you’d expect, with its standard spellings of “flavour” and “defence” — and then, as it drew to a close, Dafoe said something which I found more than a little odd when asked about movies with “shallow roots:”

“…A movie that’s pretty much dismissed and reviled, something like xXx 2. I’m not here to defend the movie or anything, but the reasons for doing it were perfectly good for me. It was a great story! What a great idea – the brothers from the ‘hood stop a coup d’etat because they can operate better in a free market system in a democracy than they can with a strong-armed military, that’s kinky!”

He’s talking, of course, of the Ice Cube-fronted explosion festival  xXx (Triple X), where Dafoe played General George Deckert. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t missed anything. Call me and I’ll stop by your house and hit you in the head with a pipe wrench to achieve the same effect. But that’s why this quote is one of the weirdest I’ve heard in a while on so many levels. Let’s throw it under the microscope.

1.) Willem Dafoe is truly an enigma as an actor. On one hand, here’s the two-time Oscar nominated Dafoe, star of Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, The Last Temptation of Christ, The English Patient and Basquiat. But he’s also the same Willem Dafoe who is the star of Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Speed 2: Cruise Control and the terrible Boondock Saints. So we know up front that he’s prone to some wacky, out-of-his mind moments.  And he does say that his reasons for doing the sequel were “good for me,” which likely means a new pool, tennis court or Japanese quail habitat on his property.

2.) He refers to the plotline with the phrase  “brothers from the hood” as if he’s Rudy Ray Moore himself. Pretty bold language from the Appleton, Wisconsin native. You don’t see me walking around tossing out references to “hard-hittin’ Cheeseheads.”

3.) He describes operating in a democratic free market system as “kinky,” which means either he’s the type of buzz-wordy guy who goes around describing movie taglines as “sexy” or clothing “delicious,” or he doesn’t really know the definition of the word kinky. I’d hardly equate laissez-faire economic philosophy up there with ball-gags and handcuffs. But maybe that’s just me.

4.) Most importantly: he’s defending xXx2: State of the Union. A movie that Vin Diesel actually turned down. And Vin Diesel made The Pacifier. And I’ve seen both. Here’s the xXx2 trailer, if you just want a taste. But be careful — it may be too great/kinky for you.

I’m hoping Dafoe was just jetlagged, but it always perplexes me when an actor busts out a silly statement like this. I’m not above a summer blockbuster shoot ’em up by any means — in fact, I’ll watch anything that appears on a screen of any sort — but then again, I’m not a respected actor. I find it hard to believe we’d ever hear Sir Anthony Hopkins talking about how awesome Freejack was. So let’s assume he was just joking. But Dafoe did quietly star in a “screwball” strip-club comedy called Go-Go Tales with Bob Hoskins and rapper Pras last year — so he’s got some secrets of his own. We’ll just chalk “loves xXx2” up to that category, and go on with our lives pretending we didn’t hear it.

One Comment
  1. July 25, 2009 7:10 am

    I’m still getting my head around the abuse of the word “kinky” here in conjunction with laissez-faire economics. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but “laissez-faire” roughly equates to “hands-off”, and most applications of the word “kinky” involve something decidedly hands-on.

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