FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 30, 2000
Contact: Margot Gerber
Tel.: 323.461.2020 x 115
BENEFIT PREMIERE OF SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE TO KICK OFF FIRST
U.S. RETROSPECTIVE OF THE FILMS OF ACTOR WILLEM DAFOE AT
December 15 - 18, 2000
HOLLYWOOD - The American Cinematheque celebrates the acting career of Willem
Dafoe with THE PRETENDER: AN IN-PERSON TRIBUTE TO WILLEM DAFOE, December
15 - 18, 2000. The benefit premiere of Dafoe's latest film, SHADOW OF THE
VAMPIRE (Lions Gate Films), will kick-off this first U.S. retrospective of
the actor's work. Dafoe will appear in-person at the premiere, as well as
with several of the films in the series. Willem Dafoe is the actor the
Village Voice once called a "a pallidly beautiful embodiment of pure evil"
for his performances as the mesmerizing counterfeiter in TO LIVE AND DIE IN
L.A. and the sneering, bad-ass biker lord in STREETS OF FIRE. He has
managed to bring the same coiled intensity and transparent elegance to his
work as a flesh-and-blood Jesus in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, a martyred
soldier struggling for the soul of his green-horn troops in PLATOON.
Ironically, for a performer whose first and greatest love remains the
theater - his work with the avant-garde Wooster Group in New York is
legendary - Dafoe has emerged as one of the most consistently surprising and
deeply committed film actors of his generation. He perhaps summed up his
acting best, with the line, "The best performing is, for me, a sort of pure
pretending." All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler
Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland
and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.
A native of Wisconsin, where he was raised in a family of eight children,
Dafoe landed in Manhattan in the late 1970's, where he quickly made a name
for himself with the Wooster Group, an internationally acclaimed theater
company that tours the world. Dafoe's early career as a sly,
love-to-hate-him villain barely hinted at his transformation into the
tormented anti-heroes of films like LIGHT SLEEPER, PLATOON and THE ENGLISH
PATIENT. "I think your best work comes when you're unsure, when you're
terrified, when you're off-balance," Dafoe has said. With his astonishing
work as Max Schreck in Elias Merhige's SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (to be released
on December 29th by Lions Gate Films), Dafoe has come full circle, investing
the skeletal villain with the same piercing intelligence and resilient
humanity as his other great roles.
Friday, December 15, 2000
The Friday, December 15th program begins at 7:30 PM with a special benefit
premiere of SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (2000, Lions Gate Films, 90 min), directed
by Elias Merhige (BEGOTTEN). Presented to great acclaim at this year's
Cannes Film Festival, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE is a fictional meditation about
F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) and the making of NOSFERATU. SHADOW is based
on the conceit that Murnau was so determined to make the most authentic
movie ever, he employed a real vampire, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) to play
Nosferatu. Attributing Schreck's weird behavior and ghastly appearances to
"method" acting, Murnau indulges his leading man's every exigency, shooting
only at night and only on the remote locations the "actor" calls home. He
even offers Schreck his beautiful leading lady, Greta (Catherine McCormack)
as a prize to be awarded upon completion of photography. But Schreck cannot
wait that long to taste human blood and, as cast and crew fall ill at a
terrifying rate, Murnau races to finish his film before Schreck finishes
him! SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE is also an exceedingly witty exploration of
creation, in which the ultimate in demanding artist and demanding star - the
genius and the monster - reveal their uncontrollable, potentially
destructive, but unusually seductive compulsions. "Wholly absorbing and
inspired. An outstanding performance by Willem Dafoe." - Todd McCarthy,
Special Ticket Price of $50.00 includes the L.A. Premiere of SHADOW OF THE
VAMPIRE and Post-Screening Party in the Egyptian Courtyard. Tickets will
probably be sold out in advance, and therefore, not available at the door.
TO REQUEST PRESS CREDENTIALS TO COVER THIS EVENT, INFORMATION ABOUT PRESS
SEATS, PRESS SCREENINGS, INTERVIEWS OR PRESS KITS & PHOTOS, please contact
Karen Fried at the Angelotti Company: 818-506-7887. The Cinematheque is not
handling press for this film or this event. The premiere is a benefit to
raise money to fund the Cinematheque's on-going public programming.
Saturday, December 16, 2000
The Saturday, December 16th program begins at 5:00 PM with PLATOON (1986,
Orion [MGM/UA], 120 min). Director Oliver Stone's astonishing elegy to lost
innocence with Charlie Sheen as the green young soldier torn between the
philosophical humanity of sergeant Willem Dafoe and the scarred, satanic
ferocity of sergeant Tom Berenger. A sublimely beautiful and hypnotically
horrific vision of the contradictions of Viet Nam. Winner of four Academy
Awards, including Best Picture and Director. Discussion following with
actor Willem Dafoe.
Following at 8:00 PM is a Dafoe Drive-In Movie Double Feature: First on the
bill is THE LOVELESS (1983, Atlantic Releasing Corp., 84 min), co-directed
by Kathryn Bigelow and Monty Montgomery. A surreal candy-colored postcard
of a leather-clad hepcat Fifties, this homage to Brando and THE WILD ONE has
Dafoe (in his first starring role) and rockabilly singer Robert Gordon as
bikers trekking through Florida to the holy grail of the Daytona races.
Next on the same bill is STREETS OF FIRE (1984, Universal, 94 min). One of
the great, guilty pleasures of the 1980's, director Walter Hill's
spectacular, rock & roll-fueled pulp classic roars at you like a souped-up
roadster with the radio going full blast. B-movie god Michael Paré stars as
an enigmatic loner who comes back to town to save former gal-pal Diane Lane
from the clutches of sinister biker chieftain Dafoe (sporting one of the
wickedest hair-dos known to mankind.) Outtasight, baby!!
Sunday, December 17, 2000
The Sunday, December 17th program begins at 5:00 PM with THE LAST TEMPTATION
OF CHRIST (1988, Universal, 164 min), directed by. Martin Scorsese. An
insightful, intensely personal adaptation of the Nikos Kazantzakis novel
that dares to portray a human, as well as divine Jesus. Willem Dafoe is a
realistic, believable Christ beset by doubt, whose faith and selflessness
finally triumph in the ultimate self-sacrifice. This indelibly moving film
features a dream cast with Harvey Keitel as an idealistic Judas tortured by
unfolding destiny and a luminous Barbara Hershey as a sensual, sensitive
Mary Magdalene. Discussion following with actor Willem Dafoe.
Following at 8:30 PM is TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT (1989, Triumph Releasing, 121
min), directed by. Robert M. Young. Dafoe gives one of his finest, most
uncompromising performances in this true-life account of a Greek-Jewish
boxer, Salamo Arouch, who was sent to Auschwitz with his family during
WWII - and forced to literally fight for his life, his honor and his soul.
Willem Dafoe to introduce screening.
Monday, December 18, 2000
The Monday, December 18th program begins at 7:00 PM with TO LIVE & DIE IN
L.A. (1985, MGM/UA, 116 min), director William Friedkin's startling,
exhilarating thriller. William Petersen stars as a hotshot Federal agent out
to bust ruthless counterfeitor Willem Dafoe (in a revelatory, tour-de-force
performance). Along the way, they collide with John Turturro as a drug-mule
addicted to Pepto Bismol, and Dean Stockwell as Dafoe's morally ambivalent
mouthpiece. As dynamic and unnerving as THE FRENCH CONNECTION a decade
earlier, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is Friedkin at his very best -- a
turbo-charged ride through an imploding, morally-corrupt American landscape.
Following at 9:30 PM is LIGHT SLEEPER (1992, Fine Line, 103 min) directed by
Paul Schrader. Dafoe is an alienated drug courier in night-time Manhattan
faced with intimations of his own mortality, in this underrated,
neo-Bressonian crime film from the author of TAXI DRIVER. Dana Delaney
gives a powerful, understated performance as Dafoe's ex-girlfriend fated for
a tragic end, while Susan Sarandon shines as his drug dealer boss
experiencing her own painful spiritual growth.
Separate admission for each program, except those listed as double features.
There will be a 5-10 minute intermission between films presented as double
features. Tickets: $5 Cinematheque Members and $7 general admission. Please
check our website for updates regarding additional guests.
??BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST ??
If you would like artwork e-mailed to you please send an e-mail to
CALL KAREN FRIED AT THE ANGELOTTI COMPANY: 818-506-7887.FOR INTERVIEW
REQUESTS WITH WILLEM DAFOE OR FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SHADOW OF THE
VAMPIRE, INCLUDING THE DECEMBER 15TH PREMIERE.
WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS
RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS ON TAPE.
A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.
NO FILMS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON VIDEOTAPE (NTSC) IN OUR OFFICES. IF YOU HAVE A
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE, PLEASE CALL TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE TAPES IN
OUR OFFICE. LOCAL COMMERCIAL VIDEO STORES PROBABLY HAVE MOST OF THESE
All of these titles are available at Vidiots, and all but TRIUMPH OF THE
SPIRIT are available at Jerry's.
LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, THE (1988); screening 12/17/00
LIGHT SLEEPER (1992); 12/18/00
LOVELESS, THE (1983); 12/16/00
PLATOON (1986); 12/16/00
STREETS OF FIRE (1984); 12/16/00
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. (1985); 12/18/00
TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT (1989); 12/17/00
Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee (Burbank) Walk in only no phone.
Jerry's Video (1904 Hillhurst, Los Feliz - 323.666.7471)
Rocket Video (726 N. La Brea - 323.965.1100)
Cinefile (11280 Santa Monica Blvd. - Corner of Sawtelle Ave. - 310.312.8836)
Vidiots (302 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica - 310/392-8508)
REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS MUST BE IN WRITING. FAX TO
323.461.9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SHOW TIME. FRIDAY AT
NOON IS THE ABSOLUTE DEADLINE FOR WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY SCREENINGS. JOURNALISTS
WISHING TO AUDIO OR VIDEOTAPE DISCUSSIONS MUST ALSO SEND A WRITTEN REQUEST.
THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.
Our permanent daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD is now open. For press
passes to see it for review purposes, please call Margot Gerber at
323.461.2020, ext. 115.
American Cinematheque, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA
(tel) 323.466-FILM - (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web:
Moving Picture Ball