Willem Dafoe is the latest cast member to join the long-anticipated Beetlejuice 2. The Spider-Man star joins a returning Michael Keaton and series newcomer Jenna Ortega in the Tim Burton film. The Hollywood Reporter has the casting news, marking veteran screen villain Dafoe as the newest addition to the star-studded sequel’s cast.
Dafoe will play an afterlife law enforcement officer, possibly part of the same supernatural bureaucracy as Sylvia Sidney‘s Juno from Burton‘s 1988 original. Keaton will return as the titular “bio-exorcist” Beetlejuice, while Ortega will portray the daughter of Lydia Deetz, Winona Ryder‘s character from the original film. Also returning is Catherine O’Hara, who will reprise the role of Delia Deetz, Ortega‘s character’s grandmother. Newcomers Justin Theroux and Monica Bellucci have also joined the cast; Bellucci will play Beetlejuice’s wife.
A legendary character actor, Dafoe has played a wide variety of on-screen villains, from the bizarre gang leader Raven in Streets of Fire, to the cackling Green Goblin of the Spider-Man films (a role he reprised in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home), to the vampiric Max Schreck in the revisionist-history horror Shadow of the Vampire. However, he is not averse to playing against type; he portrayed the martyred Sergeant Elias in Oliver Stone‘s Platoon, and Jesus Christ in Martin Scorsese‘s controversial The Last Temptation of Christ. In recent years, he has become a member of Wes Anderson‘s and Lars von Trier‘s ensembles of regulars, turned in acclaimed performance alongside Robert Pattinson in Robert Eggers‘ The Lighthouse, and featured in a key role in John Wick. He can currently be seen in the thriller Inside, and can next be seen in Anderson‘s Asteroid City, Eggers‘ reimagining of Nosferatu, and Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Poor Things.
What Was Beetlejuice About?
A sleeper hit in the spring of 1988, Beetlejuice starred Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin as the Maitlands, a couple who found themselves unexpectedly deceased and doomed to haunt their home – which was now occupied by the bizarre Deetz family and their “strange and unusual” daughter Lydia (Ryder), who was the only person who could see their spectral forms. Desperate to expel the Deetzes, the Maitlands entered into a deal with Beetlejuice (Keaton), a crude, obnoxious ghost who billed himself as a “bio-exorcist” and embarked on a campiagn of terror against the living. Hilarity, and enormous box office receipts, ensued. The film spawned merchandise, a cartoon spinoff, and a lengthy, torturous series of attempts to film a sequel – which has now come to fruition.
Beetlejuice 2 will be produced by Burton and Brad Pitt’s Plan B. The script is by Al Gough and Miles Millar (Wednesday, Spider-Man 2, Into the Badlands).
Beetlejuice 2 will hit theaters on September 6, 2024.