'Inside' star Willem Dafoe says he'd prefer sweating to death over freezing any day.

'Inside' star Willem Dafoe says he'd prefer sweating to death over freezing any day.
Willem Dafoe stars as Nemo in director Vasilis Katsoupis' "Inside."Wolfgang Ennenbach / Focus Features
  • Willem Dafoe latest film, "Inside," is out now.
  • In the new film, his character endures extreme hot and cool temperatures while trapped in an apartment.

Willem Dafoe hates the cold.

In his new film, "Inside," Dafoe plays Nemo, an art thief on the hunt for a series of rare and highly valued Egon Schiele paintings. But Nemo's plans quickly go awry when he finds himself locked in a high-tech luxury Manhattan penthouse. What may sound like a dream quickly devolves into a nightmare as a malfunctioning thermostat results in extreme temperature fluctuations — rising to over 106°F before dipping to 43°F.

Thankfully the 67-year-old Dafoe wasn't forced to experience any of the extreme hot and cold climate swings Nemo faced.

He just made it look really convincing.

"I really just had to pretend those really, because emotional recall, in this case, doesn't work," Dafoe told Insider in February. "I hate the cold. I love the heat, in general. But, yeah, that's basically pretended."


"Inside" is a captivating one-man show from Dafoe, who remains silent for a good portion of the film. Made in just 32 days, "Inside" captures Nemo's slow physical and psychological deterioration in solitary confinement as he runs low on food and water, and must rely on his wit to survive.

To create the art-rich environment Dafoe is trapped within, film director Vasilis Katsoupis tapped art curator Leonardo Bigazzi, who was able to bring original works from Francesco Clemente, Maurizio Cattelan, and John Armleder, among others, to the set.

"We've seen too many films that have to do with art and most of the time the art is fake or lookalikes. I really wanted in my film for everything to be very, very correct," Katsoupis told the Los Angeles Times.

The art becomes very much a part of the story. At one point, the chill in the apartment prompts Nemo to take a piece of art off the wall — Petrit Halilaj's "Do you realise there is a rainbow even if it's night!?" — and wear it himself.

'Inside' star Willem Dafoe says he'd prefer sweating to death over freezing any day.
Willem Dafoe strips down in "Inside" when the apartment he's trapped inside becomes unbearably warm.Courtesy of Focus Features

Apparently that was Dafoe's idea. As Katsoupis took Dafoe on a tour of the set one day, Dafoe noticed the woolly costume piece hanging on the wall, he told the LA Times.


"He said, 'I'm going to be freezing cold. Why am I not wearing this?'" curator Leonardo Bigazzi told the outlet. "And it became one of the most iconic images of the film where he's wearing this moth, becoming almost like a shaman."

"Inside," from director Vasilis Katsoupis, is in theaters now.