Willem Dafoe (‘The Florida Project’) interview: ‘It’s a world that people haven’t seen before’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

“It’s a world that people haven’t seen before,” divulges Willem Dafoe as we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video interview above) about his new film “The Florida Project.” He adds, “I think it has a kind of humanist view that people will be touched by.” Directed by Sean Baker (“Tangerine”), this A24 release follows a precocious young girl named Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) as she goes on adventures with her friends and rebellious mother (Bria Vinaite) while living in a ramshackle Florida motel in Orlando near Disney World. Dafoe plays Bobby, the kindhearted and patriarchal motel manager.

SEE 2018 Oscar Predictions: A24 follows up ‘Moonlight’ with ‘Lady Bird,’ ‘The Florida Project,’ ‘The Disaster Artist’

“He wears a lot of hats,” describes the actor of Bobby. “He’s a complex character in that he has to deal with all the different residents in lots of different ways. He’s part father figure to the children, he’s part janitor, he’s part policeman. He’s all kinds of things, and with each person, the way he deals with them is quite specific.” One of the things Dafoe loved about the character is that “he’s not an extraordinarily gifted person… he’s a working class guy just trying to make it day-to-day. But his kind of pride in his work, and his optimism in a really difficult situation, is touching to me.”

SEE 2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Dafoe received Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actor for “Platoon” (1986) and “Shadow of the Vampire” (2000). He also received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for “Shadow.” At SAG, he was nominated as part of the film ensembles for “The English Patient” (1996) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014).

Throughout his lengthy career, he has worked with such acclaimed filmmakers as Martin ScorseseDavid LynchWes AndersonLars von TrierOliver StoneKathryn BigelowAlan ParkerSam Raimi, David CronenbergJohn Waters, and Paul Schrader. Could “The Florida Project” bring him his first career Academy Award after more than 30 years in the business? Our experts, editors, and users certainly think so, since he currently holds first place odds.

“The Florida Project” opens in limited release on Friday, October 6.

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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