Willem Dafoe Say Streaming Services Hurt Complex Films.


Willem Dafoe Says Streaming Kills Challenging Films

Willem Dafoe, the acclaimed actor, shared his perspective on the challenges faced by thought-provoking films in the realm of streaming. According to Dafoe, movies that stimulate the mind and present challenges may not fare as well in the streaming world. He highlighted the tendency of people to opt for lighter, more easily digestible content when at home. Dafoe expressed that the allure of streaming often leads individuals to choose entertainment that requires less mental engagement, saying, "People go home and say, 'Let's watch something stupid tonight.'"

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Willem Dafoe opened up about the challenges faced by intellectually demanding films on streaming platforms. The veteran actor expressed his concern that movies with complex narratives, such as his own works like "The Northman," "Inside," and "Poor Things," often struggle to find an audience in the realm of streaming.

Dafoe pointed out the shift in audience behavior, emphasizing that the at-home viewing experience differs significantly from the communal aspect of watching films in theaters. According to him, the kind of attention and engagement required for more difficult and challenging movies is often lacking in the home environment.

The actor lamented the absence of the social dynamic that traditionally accompanied movie-watching experiences. He reminisced about the days when people would go to the movies, followed by dinner and discussions about the film. In contrast, Dafoe noted the contemporary trend of individuals opting for lighter, less demanding content at home. He humorously remarked, "People now go home, they say, ‘Hey, honey, let’s watch something stupid tonight,’ and they flip through and they watch five minutes of 10 movies, and they say, ‘Forget it, let’s go to bed.’ Where’s that discourse found?”

Dafoe delved deeper into the changing landscape of movie-making, expressing his observation that the traditional approach has shifted. He remarked, “They aren’t making movies the same way they used to. They’re being financed by toy companies and other entities, and they become the vehicle to make the movies because they know how to do that. Streaming services are evolving into something akin to a monopoly, holding both the means of production and distribution. It's a complex situation.”

Despite self-deprecatingly labeling himself as a “crummy” and “lousy” source for dissecting the film industry's intricacies, Dafoe underscored a valid point. He noted that streaming giants like Netflix, with their in-house production arms, wield significant influence in creating and disseminating content directly to an audience seemingly inclined towards more lighthearted fare rather than challenging cinema. While not explicitly mentioning Mattel, Dafoe subtly referred to the entry of toy companies into the film domain, citing the notable success of the film division's initial venture, "Barbie."

Recently bestowed with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dafoe finds himself once again in the limelight, generating Oscar buzz for his supporting role in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things.”

Reflecting on his versatile career, Dafoe shared his insights with Variety, highlighting the tendency for individuals, especially as they age, to refine their creative impulses and prefer a specific working style. He likened his approach to planting seeds in different places, opting for diversity in roles rather than waiting for a singular project to blossom. In his words, “Do you plant a monocrop, where you’re waiting for that one thing to grow? Or do you plant many different things so that when you least expect it, opportunities arise, and you always have a certain variety?”

Later this year, audiences can anticipate Willem Dafoe's return to the screen with notable roles in two upcoming films. He is set to grace Tim Burton’s anticipated “Beetlejuice 2” and Robert Eggers’ latest project, “Nosferatu.” This collaboration marks Dafoe's continued partnership with Eggers following their previous ventures in "The Lighthouse" and "The Northman." Fans can look forward to witnessing the actor's versatility in these highly anticipated productions.

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