Willem Dafoe Has Something To Say About Those Joker Rumors

Willem Dafoe might not be as keen as you'd think to take on the role of Joker.

The actor addressed speculation linking him to the part during an interview with Newsweek to promote his latest movie Inside.

Dafoe has spoken publicly about the possibility of taking on the role recently; first, during his Saturday Night Live monologue in January 2022, and again in March 2023 during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It seemed Dafoe was hot on the idea initially, and even repeated a pitch of how he could play the character. However, as he explains, it seems unlikely.

Since it has become a talking point of late, we asked if he's willing it into existence, or "baiting" Warner Bros. into welcoming him into the DC Universe.

Willem Dafoe and Joaquin Phoenix Joker
Willem Dafoe attending the New York screening of his new movie 'Inside' in 2023 alongside Joaquin Phoenix's Joker in the 2019 movie 'Joker.' The actor addressed speculation linking him to the part during an interview with Newsweek to promote his latest movie. Getty Images / Warner Bros. Pictures/Dia Dipasupil

"No," he responded to Newsweek. "People keep on bringing it up, and I'm a polite guy so I respond."

Dafoe is incredibly busy as it is, with his latest release Inside, and a number of other projects coming up. "I'm doing other things. If something like that [Joker] happened? Fine, but I'm not fishing, to be honest."

When Dafoe hosted SNL, he joked about being mentioned as a good actor to play the role which has also been played by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Joaquin Phoenix.

"People come up to me and say, 'you know what role you'd be perfect for? The Joker.' Always nice to hear you've got the vibe of a sociopath," he joked during his monologue.

Jimmy Fallon recently asked Dafoe about it, where he'd floated the idea of playing an imposter Joker in an upcoming movie. As Dafoe now suggests though, he was just being "polite" with his responses.

In Dafoe's latest movie, Inside, he plays an art thief whose heist goes wrong. As a result, he gets locked inside an extravagant apartment and must try to escape before being caught.

It's one of many roles Dafoe has coming up, and the 67-year-old has no plans to slow down.

"I like to work. I like making movies and when I find good opportunities, I hop on them," Dafoe told Newsweek. "For me, personally, it's a golden period and I've really enjoyed working with a wide range of things."

According to his IMDb page, he has 11 upcoming projects, but Dafoe admits that is a number that should come with a caveat.

"Now, keep in mind when you say 11, some of them are cameos, like my role in Wes Anderson's [Asteroid City] is quite small, some are quite expansive. Also, because of COVID, and because people were nervous about people coming back to theaters, a lot of these are theatrical releases that they've been kind of waiting, so they stacked up.

"I've been busy, but it's not like I've been a madman. I've had a little time off here and there. But I like to work and, thank God, I found good projects to do lately," Dafoe said.

Willem Dafoe 'Inside'
Willem Dafoe's new movie 'Inside' is out in theaters on Friday, March 17, 2023. Dafoe plays an art thief whose heist goes wrong. Focus Features