Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Film

The bizarre story of how Willem Dafoe needed a penis double for Lars von Trier film 'Antichrist'

Willem Dafoe is undoubtedly among the most talented and versatile actors of our time, having delivered powerful performances in projects that couldn’t be more different from each other. While Dafoe is still celebrated for his portrayal of the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man films, he has continued to reinvent himself through enigmatic projects like The Lighthouse.

One of Dafoe’s most iconic performances came in Lars von Trier’s 2009 psychological horror film Antichrist, a film that revolves around a couple who are trying to cope with the loss of their son. In order to deal with the traumatic event, they decide to retreat from the world and live in an isolated cabin in the middle of a mysterious forest.

As the days pass, the man (Dafoe) experiences bizarre visions while his partner (Charlotte Gainsbourg) engages in increasingly sadomasochistic sexual acts. Lars von Trier later revealed that this dark film was actually the product of his own struggles with depression, written during a period when he had been hospitalised for his mental health.

While the film has become a notorious addition to the world of horror, there is one interesting story which surfaced from the production process of Antichrist. As the director wanted to explore the relationship between human depravity and sexuality, a lot of strange sex scenes had been envisioned as a part of Antichrist’s artistic framework.

After Antichrist was released, von Trier revealed in an interview that Willem Dafoe actually needed a double for his sex scenes because his penis was so large that everyone in the room got confused. The famous scene where the penis ejaculates blood actually had someone else’s penis in the frame as the director felt Dafoe’s appendage was too large.

Lars von Trier explained that Dafoe’s character practises some contentious psychotherapy in the film, claiming: “I wouldn’t let him treat her in any other way than with his dick, he has an enormous dick, but that maybe I took also…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.”

Since then, the mythology surrounding Dafoe’s fabled genitals have only continued to grow and has provided a lot of fodder for countless memes on the internet.

Check out the trailer for Antichrist below.