Willem Dafoe, the actorly equivalent of the creepy guy in the dentist waiting room who won’t stop smiling a little too intensely at you, is going abroad for his next role. The Hollywood Reporter says that the John Wick co-star has signed on for The Great Wall, a supernatural adventure tale and the English-language debut of Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
As we previously reported, the film stars Matt Damon, is set during the 15th century in China, and is the brainchild of World War Z author Max Brooks and Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull. There are a few new details about the plot: it seems Damon and his mercenaries travel to the East in order to bring gunpowder back to Europe. While there, they get attacked by supernatural creatures, and Damon “finds himself in a war between a secret warrior clan and the beasts.” And while the obvious assumption is that Dafoe was brought on board to play an unsettling supernatural monster, his role is being kept under wraps for the moment. The other possibility is that Dafoe is playing the title character, a sassy anthropomorphic Great Wall of China that’s always butting into Damon‘s romantic life. Of course, given Yimou’s usual modus operandi, even that would probably be beautified with exquisite slow-motion imagery.