Former SNL Host Willem Dafoe Joins Cast of SNL 1975 Movie

The SNL 1975 casting news continues to pour in. Willem Dafoe is the latest addition to the feature film that’s set behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live’s series premiere.

Deadline reports that Dafoe will play David Tebet, the network executive and press agent who served as NBC’s vp of talent relations from 1959-1979. Tebet was responsible for scouting potential talent and bringing them over to the network — including lobbying for Johnny Carson to take over The Tonight Show when Jack Paar announced his retirement.

Dafoe has a connection to the real-life SNL. Like fellow SNL 1975 cast member J.K. Simmons, Dafoe has hosted the program before. He led a Season 47 episode in January 2022, with musical guest Katy Perry.

SNL 1975 will take place in real-time during the 90 minutes leading up to the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live. The Sony Pictures film is directed by Jason Reitman, and co-written by Reitman and Gil Kenan. The pair just collaborated on Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Just yesterday, it was announced that former Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste will also appear in the movie, as SNL’s first musical guest Billy Preston. Batiste is also scoring the film.

Others cast include Gabriel LaBelle as Lorne Michaels, Cooper Hoffman as NBC late-night executive Dick Ebersol, Ella Hunt as Gilda Radner, Dylan O’Brien as Dan Aykroyd, Cory Michael Smith as Chevy Chase, Matt Wood as John Belushi, Kim Matula as Jane Curtin, Emily Fairne as Laraine Newman, Nicholas Podano as Billy Crystal, Taylor Gray as Al Franken, Finn Wolfhard as an NBC page, and the aforementioned J.K. Simmons as Milton Berle.

A four-time Academy Award nominee, Dafoe has appeared in more than 100 films in over his 40+ year career, most recently co-starring in Poor Things, for which he earned a 2024 Golden Globe nomination.

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