Willem Dafoe became a 'gentleman farmer' during actors strike

Willem Dafoe has revealed he became a 'gentleman farmer' during the Hollywood actors strike last year spending his days tending to the animals and growing vegetables on his estate in Italy

William Dafoe

Willem Dafoe became a "gentleman farmer" during the Hollywood actors strike.

The 68-year-old 'Platoon' star was left with no work for almost four months last year when the SAG-AFTRA actors union staged a walk out over pay and conditions and Dafoe has revealed he used his downtime to focus on farming - tending to the animals at his estate in Italy and growing vegetables.

He told the Guardian newspaper: "I love to work and it was longer than I like to go. I never know how much to talk about this. Basically, let’s say, I was a gentleman farmer ... [I have] lots of animals [and a vegetable garden] ...

"I’m basically a vegetarian, so I do it just for the pleasure of their company and to try to give them a good life, which is a little naive."

As well as keeping chickens and turkey, Dafoe and his wife Giada Colagrande also have goats and sheep but he admits he has a very special relationship with his alpacas.

The actor added of his menagerie: "Each [alpaca] is very distinct. With sheep and goats, some you know well, some have names and they really stick, but some are just sheep and goats.

"But every alpaca, you have a whole particular relationship with, and you know their character."

He went on to say: "I wake up, I hit the ground running. My day is dedicated to doing things and taking care of things. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, what can I tell ya?"

Dafoe also explained why he doesn't like to talk about his farm too much, admitting he's worried others may think he's boring.

He told the outlet: "I remember one of the first movies I was in [1980's 'Heaven’s Gate']. I had never been in a studio or Hollywood movie before. I was used to being with the downtown crowd in New York, in a very fertile period.

"When I went on set, I thought everybody would be talking about poetry and film and philosophy. And everybody was talking about their dogs and their horses and their ranches, and I thought, this is a drag, ya know? And now, I’ve become one of them."

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