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Watch: Willem Dafoe Stars In ‘Being John Malkovich’-Style Ad For Jim Beam

Watch: Willem Dafoe Stars In ‘Being John Malkovich’-Style Ad For Jim Beam

Wow, where was this during the Super Bowl? In this new 90 second spot for Jim Beam, character actor Willem Dafoe stars as a dozen or so different versions of himself in this “Being John Malkovich”-style clip. The campaign, about making “bold choices,” illustrates the different types of lives one might lead depending on those decisions and Dafoe stars as each of these versions. Appearing as a circus acrobat, fashion designer, skinhead, and sumo wrestler, it has to be seen to be believed. It sounds silly (and it is), but it’s also surprisingly affecting. We’re not sure what this has to do with liquor but it’s really an impressive spot.

The ad, entitled “Parallels,” was directed by commercial veteran Dante Ariola who we recently told you was no longer attached to direct “The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman,” which would have been his feature debut. The “you’ve got to see sumo Willem Dafoe” will probably be the reason you watch, but don’t be surprised if you actually get a little choked up too during this bizarre clip. Watch it below (via Vulture):

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john malkovich?

Don’t see the connection. Also he’s great and you forget its for alcohol. but now if they would have used Charlie Sheen, I think they would have really made their point about “bold choices”.


That Lagerfeld was classic.


wrong choice…nothing is happening in NYC

also…is “better” really your own private jet and limousine?

commercial is cool, but sends the wrong messages…and they’re all cliche.

Andrew James

@ J.R. “A stupid commercial” yet it’s “beautifully directed and Willem is great”
Which one is it?

Anyway, try Beam Black. For the price it’s quite drinkable.


1. I didn’t see the “Being John Malkovich” connection.
2. What a stupid commercial. Jim Beam is crap bourbon. You wanna make a bold choice? Drink something else.
3. I have to admit, it’s a beautifully directed ad. And, as always Willem is great.


I think it’s likely this commercial gave someone the impetus to climb on their own bus heading toward their future. Good luck, wherever you are.

Cory Everett

Was thinking of Malkovich in this scene:

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