Willem Dafoe on 'The Lighthouse,’ working with Robert Pattinson

The actor talks to Peter Travers about the making of the psychological horror-thriller film “The Lighthouse."
18:35 | 01/22/20

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Transcript for Willem Dafoe on 'The Lighthouse,’ working with Robert Pattinson
I am Peter Travers this popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a great movie for you see right now called Google like. Starring Willem to follow just. Accidentally happens to be here happened and can graduation. Next thing you know because it's so dramatic with you and Robert patents and acting this White House. Could you stand each other after you've finished shooting auction it was a pleasure to see you look at hand. It's a pleasure you made so many mean best. And yes you and now hey I have this I read Peter's. We'll also play a really nice people outta here Jesus Christ thank you so you know that the hut. These guys go a little crazy. Yeah but the weeks that you would do I would just yet it eighteen days. He hints. Lighthouse off the coast of mind. Two guys are supposed to be there for four weeks once an older guy he's an old hand. Has been working at the lighthouse for a little while that you that's me. I'm older ones to Arnold got older and older ones yeah and then there's the younger one which is rob patents and and he's no it's kind of mysterious who he exactly is spent. I kind of put him through his paces and try to break him into this kind of work. I don't hate I had a great did she allow hang we didn't know if first of all we're just trying to run the White House. And we don't get picked up. That whether it goes very bad and we're supposed to be relieved after four weeks and we don't and not to give away the whole story but then the food goes bad and we have nothing but liquor left we start to drink. And two people that weren't great friends at the beginning. And don't become better friends from the and thinks I'm constantly sometimes when this is a liquor a kerosene will come. Well you know but it's such an isolating. Thing that we're watching get claustrophobic. When you're watching you at the same man I was longing for kerosene when he came. It's you know it's a psychological. Thriller beautifully made by director who made to which opera and Robert beggars real talent. Shot by German masking. Deal and he. Very particular and when things I like about news. It's it's funny and notice that. Some young people who don't have made sometimes have big film culture because they grow up on you know YouTube and social me. And don't know them movies so well OK and until. I think they haven't said we'll do so they find it really engaging and then. Older people who love the fact that there's. It's it's. It's quite experimental and subways but it's also very classical. Fondled people kind of love that the precision and the beauty of this and photography and the kind of elemental. Quality. Well they should but all a little and beautiful language the language is what's amazing. Fantastic I agree because the both of you have this these accents and according to you fake teeth. I do. Yeah because you know other directors showed me obvious physical all these. Visual references concedes it eases genius that was searching so he gave us lots of material like things. Period footage and also journalism lighthouse keepers all our wealth of stuff. And among them when lots of visual math. References. And almost all of these guys had funky. Now. Perfect my teeth aren't perfect but I knew I needed some house. Like tastes like and gain gaps and even bigger and more death and why people like him. Laid side on this. Because when you watching you see the intensity how the EU and rob. Managed to do did you know each other before. I don't know and I get known during the show because it was so intense and we should be in very arm. Very difficult circumstances because a lot of it outdoors and where on this rocky peninsula where we built this White House bills itself wasn't there. Beautiful if it isn't known for it. And the weather was really extreme really strong so basically I just knew him within the scenes. It was only afterwards. When we started doing press. That we hung out a little bit I got to know one way to me you didn't use on this island and you just don't go out for a cup of coffee I. No because we're working long hours it's really difficult you're always changing your getting dry here you know just trying to survive the weather. Because even when we're in knee and carriers it's really cool and wet. If if you recall it being roundly dampens sliding all kinds and so. Whenever you get a moment where you not working. You tend to retreat to you know change clothes and Japan next say. I lived in old fisherman's cottage he lived an ounce aluminum side to side. It's but it wasn't a method thing but it was very practical and worked very well so that you liked him when it finally got to. I'd like to miss it and it moved its in Marion doesn't of these but we knew each other through its aids. But to say that I know him well not really not outside of the characters we rob beggars. And the whole crew is the way we approach this is very precise it's not like conventional movie where you kind of get there in new cars and you. Does not figure out the shots of new acts acute you do coverage it is none of that. Shots are design. Where there when we get there we asked acts keeps its RP I think he it and now it wouldn't let them watch that was that kind of practicality and directness because that shots were so beautifully designed. And you write this beautiful language that. You had to be practiced that that's not something you can improvise it's very very far from. Even though you try to make it. Realistic naturalistic. It's still very elegant so that's something to practice your eyewitness because it is it's it has Belleville area beautiful at one point he says you know what he's doing this cat that they had to. It's that. You're parity view what's happening here well one of the beautiful things about movies like the character I play Houston on. Reliable narrator. Yeah sure when he's telling the truth and he has there's a lot of mystery in this. And I think the audience gets sucked into imagining this strategy and what's going on in the minds of these two guys do. Survive period and so my job. What we're talking a lot of Vatican we look at a moment yes but I could do that you know let's see Willem Dafoe. Then in the light and acts. It's right certainly. Can't do this rock and I and that tough. And make me laugh when you are false grown. He pretended did some. Mystery knew quite use it. Everyday Middle East. Colonel oak a picture says site. I did actress Freeman and a foot lots. What wants to be comforted frightened about not being bought prior but that's so that's what one shot of any errors. I don't know PA. Okay. Google. Through. Action but it. While. You know this movie. Because it's so much about an atmosphere and it's so tight and so element elements of psychologically and you get sucked into Latin. While this looks fine it doesn't. Do it justice clips I don't think. What has once you enter it's not true of all these and you can get a little scene that does have some matters movie itself. But this movie it's and you slowly and took from the very first friends you slowly get cash trains I think. Looking at I don't know that it's a good work that way. And that language is its old rich and it's I don't think so I think so it's got to musicality it's written in beautiful images. Now may be Wesson the spree best example but there's a couple of speeches where there's really pathological. Rock references that are part of single and a part of his beliefs and a part of how he thinks. And it really elevates things and when and also they work very well in this in the beautiful thing if you work on these things they have a real power more powerful. Power than normal language but then you have to take that. Find the music find the sentence. And then make it work in the context embassy and that that's really taps. It's a lot of movies yeah. That you see it it's over and you go home and say what is what's for dinner right. This isn't one. Who think so. You would want to talk to people about it I wouldn't talk more about the details it gets too much away he had no tricky hop act it is. The tricky part because there's there's scenes in that. That I'd never seen anything like before. Show an obvious is you very unique you've got several films that that that katic. I am not saying you turn around and you work for Disney plus great and it is to movie called pogo. And you're out there sledding with dogs. What was a greater Huskies yup. And a good story and really touching and finding out that people are really moved by. I mean I don't we know my stake in that you are now in there's. It. But knowing you aren't sure you learn to have to dogs of course of course that Alba I mean it was essential there was no other way to do it and I wanted to do that because. That's what the guide diocese as in the trailer businesses dogs. I mean it is. That's that's the key and it's very much about the relationship between Ian. And his wife. And this dog and is based on this historical. Famous toxin run on to say sick people and known as anti serum. 600 miles away in the early this is 1925. Malaska the only way to reach it. It's by dogs. So they take this guy that it exists exists limits that let him and his team go out and tried again. And they do 260. Miles of this 600 yard. Relay. Which is heroic in terrible weather. So that's the that's actually that's the tension that's the adventure part and then flashbacks that kind of express. How their relationship grew because initially. Set a lot of very pragmatic. Didn't think this dog had what it takes to be sly dog so he rejects his wife of wisdom. Says no known this this dog as something disputes. That. Series of events that makes you believe that dog they may come together and then there. Then than there are given this and possible. Or at least very difficult task so it's. It's got a lot of great elements to it and we shot it in Canadian Rockies beautiful landscaped. A real minimum of CGI's most of the action. Is very practical. The only time we used CG was when it was too dangerous for the dogs. First and secondary for a day that didn't matter but they'll do it at the so weird expression. An underdog dog but it's Enron debacle with its underdog dominantly with the office. It's around a grip its and a chocolate dog movie that god the cooking. But you know you've met do you have. Dog so now what. Wrong with you I act play you see this movie quite catch our else. Have finally come on come. Office we let's I would like rock and one of them. You know you were brought up in Wisconsin somewhere with a huge Stanley. Yes Kay Aston both my parents work and you want Miami pat because you weren't properly take care. And that hasn't I with told an arts school than that but you had a lot there weren't a lot of kids that your fans out there where. And it was two. None this land has never had a dog. And all but listen I thought of that come to a new understanding and now. I've got such a nomadic life and how can have a dog. No you're always working so you can't take the dog paddling traveling at work how almost half of it like. It was OK but you see this movie he'd those dogs specially under dog of dogs and get a vote. That's led drugs there after I like you. You know they're sweet sweet dogs they're very determined once they get to task and that is incredible to see because they're so athletic so strong. So determined because they love to rock. When that training breeding it's just in their primary Fieger. The fiber of who they are in and outside of that they really respond to affection very sweet and in fact all joking aside and I've never had dogs when it came to understand what is. That special relationship that. People with but I assume because that the acting you did it take them for coffee either. The dogs would just like patents you know it was now and I would just got synagogues. It it's the let's let anybody raised that that definitely. I like the dogs alive and I depended on the independent. All right let's end by. Taking a few questions from the Internet with a wow oh god I've forgotten this fact. He Baja my god mr. Dafoe is there an actor director that you haven't had a chance to work with what you mostly. Many have become it's a good movie I think. How did how did they do that that person's interest in I I want. Being around that and maybe do something with them so there's a lot and I get self conscious when that list because it. Bill because I think he was out there why doesn't he want to work with me it's sort of morality is finding some way. He won't work with this I doubt paces how they take another question. OK call on the green says what is your favorite character you play. Let me give a cliche to answer to that in on the one minute just more or less I mean you can't you gotta make room for the next thing. Sure there are ones that matter. Somehow stick with you longer last temptation. Platoon and take Christ. And go. Florida project this one you know there's one less that. Art he there's one that spike up but then. Even as a on getting money that. What you've been almost 101. More idea so it's not where those characters. Well. Like that you have got and you've got their menu to. It's just a question well and training that landed that it there there released. In the committee did the actions that make. This. The movie bad actor that it really control them coming out. Even if they removed the tank. Sometimes Iran and its place I have it now but I what's coming up and you'll be just off. They fail it's always thought yep. It. I'd vote one. What you're not the part that its culture. Well. And that song. You know I'm not forget Nightline. From this exchange at this each. Yeah you know it I was going to do in a two. The okayed the he would vote gave me you know the only ones. Oh. When we wounds him. Oh arrows. Be waning. You know I don't know if that found when you're a kid it was never in the lighthouse now okay. People wouldn't it says. That means she gave me it and dance around a flawed. And out of that are due let me go all. Don't go like this that you are don't stop me because. I think of that bears killed and eyes and that plays that the credits. And I can give them hands for about three day so you can't we just yeah just want to do that little its threads it's good that's led a bit about the he would take your mind off your work are well that's great and I'm just one until this. On top good started going Buchanan because you have another case the do not that I you'll have me do I shall be not much I'll talk you know.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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