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The First Exclusive Look at Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in ‘AT ETERNITY’S GATE’

May 26, 2017

willem dafoe

During this year’s 2017 Cannes Film Festival, it was announced that Willem Dafoe would play Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnable’s upcoming film AT ETERNITY’S GATE.

Van Gogh was the world’s most acclaimed Post-Impressionist painter, who died at age 37 before he was recognized for his gifts.

Produced by Schnabel’s long-time producer Jon Kilik, Rocket Science is handling sales internationally. Schnabel co-wrote the script with famed French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière.

The film will have a first-person point of view, as the isolated Van Gogh wanders the countryside, wishing a few people would commune with him like a normal person. Production will shoot on location in Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, France, where Van Gogh lived and painted at the end of his short life.

Schnabel has known Dafoe for a while and reveals that he couldn’t picture anybody but him for the role.

“Willem has the depth of character, he’s physical. He is that person. He’s got the depth of character and the compassion and empathy.”

There has been at least 36 films made about Van Gogh and his life, from Vincent Minnelli’s Oscar-winning Lust for Life starring Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn, to Robert Altman’s Vincent and Theo starring Tim Roth and Paul Rhys.

Schnabel is quite honest. He doesn’t like them.

“I want AT ETERNITY’S GATE to feel like you are watching Vincent Van Gogh, but you are living his life. We’re not trying to address his whole life story. It’s really about understanding what painting is, what the different language is that is not the same. It’s a painted world, a different way of communicating.”

Schanabel took this photo of Dafoe as Van Gogh after an hour messing around with his hair and makeup. And as you can see the resemblance is similar.



  1. mediapromote permalink

    Wow!! Very excited to see this! Defoe is a really nice guy. Worked with him on Spiderman some years back.

    • star010 permalink

      I’m glad to hear that! Excited myself as well to see it!

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