Willem Dafoe to Star in Disney Adventure Movie 'Togo' (Exclusive)

Willem Dafoe_1 - Getty - H 2018
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ericson Core is directing the project for Disney's streaming service.

Willem Dafoe, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in last year’s The Florida Project, has signed on to star in Togo, a Disney movie about a famous and dangerous sled-dog relay.

Ericson Core, who directed the Mark Wahlberg drama Invincible as well as the recent remake of Point Break, is helming the movie, which is being developed for the Disney streaming service.

Togo will be a live-action feature centering on two key figures in the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, in which dog-sled teams relayed to transport diphtheria antitoxin serum through harsh conditions over nearly 700 miles to save the town from an epidemic.

Balto was the dog who received acclaim from the life-saving run and whose heroism was popularized at the time; he even received the movie treatment via an animated feature in 1995 from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin.

But in effect it was Togo and his owner, Leonhard Seppala, that traversed the most dangerous part of the journey, facing temperatures of 30 degrees below zero in gale-force winds.

Dafoe will play Seppala in this tale of an unlikely friendship between man and dog

Tom Flynn wrote the script for the project, which is being produced by Kim Zubick.  

Jessica Virtue and Louie Provost are overseeing Togo for the studio.

Disney’s streaming service will launch in late 2019. The studio aims to have a mix of original and exclusive movies and TV series along with its vast library. 

Dafoe just wrapped shooting The Last Thing He Wanted, the latest film from Mudbound filmmaker Dee Rees, which also stars Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck. He stars as VIncent Van Gogh in drama At Eternity's Gate, directed by Julian Schnabel, which will be released later this year. 

Dafoe, who is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion, will also appear in Aquaman, Warners’ DC Entertainment-based movie that opens December.