Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Even in a long line of charismatic characters, Willem Dafoe’s turn as The Lighthouse’s Thomas Wake stands out as a gnarly achievement to behold. From underneath the “wickie’s” thick beard comes an even thicker old New England accent, and Dafoe keeps the role anchored as he passes gas one minute and threatens to unleash the mighty powers of Neptune the next. We had a chance to speak with the actor during the first weekend of The Lighthouse’s theatrical rollout, and he told us what went into crafting the performance that our own A.A. Dowd called “a live-action version of the sea captain from The Simpsons.” Dafoe also shared his appreciation of director Robert Eggers, who he cites as a “freak for research,” which made it possible for him to bring the crusty lighthouse keeper to life.

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