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Willem Dafoe: The Man, the Myth, the Enormous Dick

Are the rumors of his massive member true? Here’s the incredibly long (and hard) history of Hollywood’s obsession with the beloved character actor’s hog

Rumor has it that beloved character actor Willem Dafoe has a truly enormous penis. Apparently it’s a remarkably large member. As in, many people have remarked how big it is. But is any of this big dick hype true?

Dafoe is a one-of-a-kind sort of guy — someone you might call a “free spirit.” Known for his wide range of performances, the actor’s portrayals vary from a doomed and doubtful Jesus Christ to a mad, morose lighthouse keeper to an over-the-top Green Goblin. Perhaps artistic Big Dick Energy has helped him to plumb the depths of humanity in pursuit of truth. Whatever the case, his individualist, chaotic-good energy began at a young age.

Case in point: Dafoe was kicked out of high school for making a “porn film,” though he maintains that the school project was about nudists — and was not, in fact, porn. After leaving college prematurely, he headed to New York in 1976, where he joined an experimental theater group. As Dafoe recalled to The Guardian, “I was with the Wooster Group for 26 years because it’s in that kind of physical theater that I find my pleasures. In the poetry of things rather than interpreting things.”

Speaking of interviews, Dafoe has faced more than a few questions over the years about his alleged elephantine dick. In fact, British journalist Simon Hattenstone once asked Dafoe point blank if the rumor that he has the biggest penis in Hollywood is true. And Dafoe, who was headed to a theater rehearsal at the time, replied, “I don’t really work in Hollywood anymore.”

Quite the non-answer.

A lot of the talk surrounding Dafoe’s humongous dick started when filmmaker Lars von Trier told a journalist in 2009 that Dafoe’s penis bewildered people on the set for Antichrist. Below is how von Trier explained the decision to use a smaller stunt cock for Dafoe, who was playing a therapist:

Lars von Trier: He has an enormous dick. He’s extremely well-equipped — and we had to kind of take the scenes out of the film. We had a stand-in for him. We had to take the scenes out with his own dick.

PK: Hold on — you had a stand-in dick? You had to have a stand-in dick for Dafoe?

LV: Yes, yes, we had to have, because Will’s own was too big.

PK: Too big to fit on the screen?

LV: [Laughs] No, too big because everybody got very confused when they saw it.

Dazed Digital spoke with Dafoe at the time and asked him similar questions about the film and the role his dick played in creating it:

Dazed Digital: There’s a lot of nudity in the film so, I have to ask, is that actually your—

Dafoe: —penis? No, it’s not mine. Lars used a porn actor for those scenes. It was a good decision because, if it was me, then that’s all that people would talk about. Obviously Lars wants the characters to have genitals, but it would become a distraction: ‘Oh, they really had sex!’ If he had asked me to do it, I don’t know what I would have said.

von Trier isn’t the only filmmaker who had to strategize a work-around for Dafoe’s giant dick either. Film immortal Martin Scorsese was also put to the test. He was shooting his highly controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ, starring Dafoe as Jesus, when he thought Jesus should be crucified and hung. But that didn’t mean he wanted the audience to see the King of King’s hog popping out of his crucifixion tunic.

In an interview with IMDb, Dafoe told the story of his dick troubles as Jesus: “It took a lot to get me on the cross. Once I got up there, I could only be up there for so long because you’re in this isometric [twists his body in his chair to show how his legs were twisted on the cross] where you’re like this [spreads his arms wide in the familiar crucified pose]. I’m also naked. They’re shooting a very wide shot, and I’m like this for a while. My penis goes out from between my legs. Marty is like, ‘Someone fix that!’ There’s only all these Roman stunt men — real macho guys. And they’re like, ‘I’m not touching that thing.’ Finally, a very sweet guy from the costume department gets a little ladder and goes up there and tucks it in, and we were good to go.”

Meanwhile, in his memoir Hollywood Animal, filmmaker Joe Eszterhas recalls a scene from a meeting with a now-former Fox publicity executive, Terry Curtin. Eszterhas explains that Curtin confided to him that Fox executives kept what she called the “P File.” It was a collection of full-frontal nudity of top male stars pulled from the outtakes of film shoots. As Eszterhas writes, “You should see Willem Dafoe’s,’ she says. ‘He wins the prize. His is really something.’”

This apparent common knowledge amongst Hollywood insiders about the size of Dafoe’s pleasure stick helps to explain why John Oliver once used it as a unit of geological measurement. In the fourth season of Last Week Tonight, Oliver borrowed Dafoe’s dick for an elaborate metaphor for the geopolitics of Asia, joking that:

“There is a lot about Tibet that you might not actually know. It’s larger than you probably think. China says it’s this area, but Tibetan exiles will say it’s even larger, encompassing an area that’s roughly a quarter of China. So it’s very big, in a confusing way, also how director Lars von Trier characterized Willem Dafoe’s dick. He told reporters: “Too big. Everybody got confused when they saw it.” Tibet is the Willem Dafoe’s dick of planet Earth. Surprisingly large.”

Along those lines, in Wyoming, there’s a rock-climbing route called Willem Dafoe’s Blood Penis. We can safely assume the climb is both steep and hard. Especially since one of his former co-stars, Dana Delany, once recalled for Cosmopolitan, “I had a bird’s-eye view when we did a nude scene in Light Sleeper. When you do a nude scene with an actor, he sometimes gets an erection if he’s into the scene. It’s sort of a compliment, isn’t it? I told Willem I would be insulted if he didn’t get an erection. And one line we had in our nude scene was ‘Quite an erection you have there.’ And it truly was.”

At this point, you’re probably shouting, “Dick pic, or GTFO!” Okay, there is video evidence of Dafoe’s dick in action from his time in an experimental theater troupe in the 1980s. It’s a naked performance, a dance filled with dick-swinging exuberance.

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