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Alien role is Willem's defence

Willem Dafoe has revealed that he enjoyed being "invisible" with his alien role in John Carter.

The Spider-Man star is barely visible in his portrayal of Tars, the leader of the Tharks, in Andrew Stanton's big-screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom books.

"It's strange because I don't see myself since it's in motion capture, but since we filmed all the scenes, I recognise the work we did. Somewhere secretly I want to disappear, so I was good with it," he said.

"It was just interesting to see myself in a role where you can't physically see me in a role. When you're involved in anything, you get that sense of yourself disappearing - you become the thing, the action. And that's a beautiful sensation because you are joining something bigger than yourself," the actor added.

Willem - who had to walk on three-foot stilts - admitted it was one of most challenging roles of his career.

"It is physically demanding because we were shooting out in the desert primarily and we were on stilts, with a lot of equipment on our bodies. That really affects how you move, and requires a certain amount of stamina," he continued.

"To get yourself up from those stilts was physically impossible by myself so I had to be on the wire. It took great practice and strength to do one little action. But I always like physical roles - those are my favourites."

:: John Carter opens in cinemas on March 9.

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