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Willem Dafoe suggested his Spider-Man 2 role because of Hamlet

It was Willem Dafoe's idea for his Spider-Man character Norman Osborn to appear in the second movie, and it's all thanks to the story of Hamlet

Willem Dafoe as Normal Osborn in Spider-Man

After his gruesome demise in the first Spider-Man movie, you’d be forgiven for thinking that would be the last we would see of Willem Dafoe and his Spider-Man villain Green Goblin. But, if you’ve seen the 2000s comic book movie, you’ll know that Norman Osborn and his ghoulish alter-ego still have a part to play in the world of Spidey. Turns out that further involvement was Dafoe’s idea, and it was all based on the story of Hamlet.

Digging through the Spidey archives, it appears that the cameo appearance of Willem Dafoe in the epic action movie all came about through pure chance. The producer of the movie, Avi Arad, told press that he ran into Dafoe on the set of Spider-Man 2, and they got to talking about bringing Osborn back. The rest is history… or is it?

Well, Dafoe’s side of the story is slightly different, and in his own words, Arad’s story is better. One thing is for certain though, the whole process of getting Dafoe and his Spider-Man character back on screen was a very casual one.

“I remember being in the back of the car with Sam [Raimi]. We were doing some press in Europe for Spider-Man, and he was talking on the phone, because they were already writing the next one,” Dafoe recalled. “[He was] talking about the script for the next one and I overheard, and I said, ‘Sam, have me back. Nothing big, you know, like Hamlet’s father, you know?'”

“He was like, ‘Yeah buddy, that’s a good idea’, and we didn’t talk anymore,” Dafoe continued. “I think I saw him one other time and I said, ‘Sam, have you been working on that thing?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, Buddy.’ And then just one day, they called up and said it’s done.”

“The genesis of it was me hanging out and kind of teasing him and saying, ‘Sam, you’re gonna miss me. Bring me back!'” the Spider-Man actor concluded.

We’re very thankful that he did pester Raimi for the role in the sequel, otherwise we wouldn’t have got Norman Osborn yelling at his son from the mirror. We wonder if he needed to persuade Kevin Feige to let him join the MCU, too.