Willem Dafoe Defends Playing Van Gogh Despite Being 26 Years Older Than Him

You heard it here first, 70 is the new 40* (*for male actors).

Willem Dafoe's latest film At Eternity's Gate sees the actor starring as one of the world's most famous artists, Vincent van Gogh.

You know van Gogh as the guy who only had one ear, or the guy who did all those paintings, or the guy who died when he was 37. So it's interesting that the film cast 63-year-old Dafoe to star as the Dutch post-impressionist.

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The major age discrepancy has raised a few eyebrows, especially considering the double-standards of Hollywood would never see a woman playing a role nearly half her age.

Well, not to worry! Dafoe totally hears you, but he also knows that it's no biggie for him to be playing the role of a man 26 years younger than he is.

At Eternity's Gate played on the closing night of the the New York Film Festival, where Vulture asked Dafoe about the age gap.

"Anyone who’s talking in those terms is not understanding the kind of movie we’re making," Dafoe said, "and doesn’t have an imagination about … physical health and how things have changed over the years."

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Claiming that the film is "not a regular biopic" Dafoe added that he "did some research" around French mortality rates in the 19th century.

"40 years old!" The actor said, "Now it’s 70 years old. So without being too cute about it, today’s 70 was yesteryear’s 40."

Dafoe concluded, "37 wasn’t young in those days, particularly if you’re drinking absinthe every day."

So, there you go.

Feature image: Getty Images