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Robert Pattinson Says He Was ‘Terrified’ by Willem Dafoe’s Energy on ‘Lighthouse’: Almost ‘Like a 6-Year-Old’

"He has so much energy. It's just unreal."


Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

Everett Collection

Robert Pattinson is spilling the beans on working with Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe.

The duo co-starred in Robert Eggers’ 2019 film “The Lighthouse,” and despite the grueling production, Pattinson remained in awe of Dafoe’s enthusiasm.

“It was absolutely great working with Willem,” Pattinson said in a video for GQ. “We rehearsed for about a week before we started shooting, and he has so much energy. It’s just unreal.”

Pattinson joked, “It’s almost like working with a 6-year-old. There’s nothing that fatigues them.”

“The Batman” star admitted that he was “kind of a little bit terrified” by Dafoe’s admirable work ethic. “We’d rehearse the entire movie, and then the second we got to the end, he’s like, ‘Again!’ and just start doing it again and his energy hadn’t even been dented,” Pattinson said.

Now, at age 66, Dafoe hosted “Saturday Night Live” in January 2022, as well as reprised his Green Goblin role 20 years after the original “Spider-Man” film for blockbuster “No Way Home.”

Dafoe is teaming up again with “Lighthouse” director Eggers for “The Northman,” set to premiere in theaters April 8.

“You have the same kind of detail he gave to his smaller films. Sometimes when you have a jump in budget, directors can have a hard time and they end up delegating and lose control. I didn’t feel that,” Dafoe told IndieWire of the large-scale epic, also starring Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, and Alexander Skarsgård. “I felt like [Eggers] was still driving it.”

As for his career, Dafoe said, “My thing is that I like to prepare for work but you can only prepare so much and once you prepare, you may throw everything out once you get there. You prepare just to relax yourself and get ready to engage, so when opportunities come you can receive them in a thoughtful way and really play.”

Dafoe added, “The size of the projects are varied. It feels very open. I love nothing more than the idea of having a lot of work ahead of me. Performing and making movies is still mysterious to me. Lately I’ve been lucky that things have turned me on. The day that I stop engaging in people who are interested in working with me, I’ll have to reassess everything.”

While Dafoe’s work ethic may have been terrifying to his co-star on the set, both Pattinson and Dafoe were encouraged to channel a feral, primal mindset while filming “The Lighthouse.”

“Because you’re playing a mad person, it means you can sort of be mad the whole time,” Pattinson previously told Esquire. “Well, not the whole time, but for like an hour before the scene. You can literally just be sitting on the floor growling and licking up puddles of mud.” Pattinson added, “I spent so much time making myself throw up. Pissing my pants. It’s the most revolting thing. I don’t know, maybe it’s really annoying.”

The “Twilight” alum even got drunk alongside Dafoe in real life on set to play an intoxicated lighthouse keeper: “There’s a scene where Willem’s kind of sleeping on me and we’re really, really drunk,” Pattinson said. “I felt like we’re completely lost in the scene and I’m sitting there trying to make myself gag and Robert [Eggers] told me off because Willem’s looking at him going: ‘If he throws up on me, I’m leaving the set.’ I had absolutely no idea this whole drama was unfolding.”

Dafoe later called co-star Pattinson a “warrior” for his own approach to the character.

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