Spider-Man Alum Willem Dafoe Explains Why He Wasn’t Pleased With No Way Home’s De-Aging Effects

Updated with video.

Over the past few years the film industry has embraced a new cutting edge form of visual effects: digital de-aging. This process has allowed for certain actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Hamill to play younger versions of themselves in film. This process was also applied to Spider-Man: No Way Home, specifically on actors Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe. But the latter actor recently explained why he wasn’t happy with how Spider-Man 3 de-aged him as he reprised his super villain role as Norman Osborn/ Green Goblin. 

Willem Dafoe is a truly legendary character actor, who is known for committing 100 percent to his various characters. The Green Goblin was no exception, which is why moviegoers were so thrilled to see him back as the villain in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Dafoe recently spoke to Wired about his experience in the MCU, revealing he wasn’t too fond of the de-aging that was done on his face through visual effects. In his words, 

Yeah, there was a couple of shots that were really fuzzy. I thought it was silly, because the de-aging thing, they don’t have down yet. And what’s the point? I don’t look that much older, I don’t think, anyway. It’s the creams.

There you have it. While visual effects artists were tasked with making Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe look like they did during Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy, the Lighthouse actor doesn’t think he really needed it. After all, he moisturizes.

Willem Dafoe’s comments to Wired offer a delightful peek at his experience joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Spider-Man: No Way Home. He dove back into the character of Norman Osborn head first, to the delight of moviegoers. He just wasn’t super fond of the de-aging work done on him throughout the movie’s 148-minute runtime. 

While it was fun to see Norman Osborn back on the big screen  and interacting with other villains from the Sam Raimi–verse, it was even more thrilling to see Willem Dafoe truly dig his heels in and become the villainous Green Goblin we know and love. What’s more, he ended up being the main antagonist of the final battle. You can see Willem Dafoe’s full appearance on Wired below:

It should be fascinating to see what comes next with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man franchise. The 26 year-old actor is currently having a much-needed break from the wall crawler, after appearing in a whopping six MCU movies across the last few years. Still, his return to the MCU seems like an inevitability, including more solo movies and crossover projects like Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Since Spider-Man: No Way Home embraced the multiverse and featured all three versions of Peter Parker working together, it seems like just about anything could happen from the Marvel/Sony property. Could we get more of these ambitious crossovers? Only time will tell, but those three actors got a ton of love for their appearance together.

The next installment in the MCU is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.