Herzog, Werner

February 10, 2009 at 11:18 am | Posted in Matty Fatty | Leave a comment

Werner Herzog is a German film director, sometime actor and full-time chicken enthusiast known for eating a shoe, carrying on an interview even after being shot and pulling Joaquin Phoenix from the wreckage of a car accident. Born in Munich in 1942 and raised in a Bavarian village, he was educated in America, where to make money, he claims to have taken such odd jobs as parking lot attendant, rodeo rider and smuggling TVs across the Mexican border. His fifty-plus movies mix documentary and fiction, and often star “actors” chosen for their unusual qualities. One of his earliest films, “Even Dwarfs Started Small,” featured an all-dwarf cast while “Heart of Glass” filmed its actors while they were under collective hypnosis. For “Every Man For Himself and God Against All,” Herzog cast real-life mental patient Bruno S., then did it again for “Stroszek,” which ends with a dancing chicken. Herzog is perhaps best known for his collaboration with the volcanic and volcanically horny actor Klaus Kinski. When Kinski threatened to walk off the Puruvian set of “Aguirre: The Wrath of God,” Herzog reportedly pulled a gun on him and said, “You leave this jungle now and you’ll find eight bullets in you, and the ninth will be for me.” Later, while stranded deep in the Amazon while shooting “Fitzcarraldo,” Herzog declined natives’ offer to kill the actor. Herzog has put his own life in danger multiple times. While shooting “Fata Morgana” in Africa, he was arrested and tortured by Cameroon police officials after a crew member was mistaken for a wanted mercenary. For the documentary “La Soufrière,” he visited a Caribbean island whose population had left because its volcano was about to explode. He also says he once walked, on foot, from Munich to Paris — some 500 miles — to visit a sick friend. His upcoming projects include a collaboration with David Lynch about a San Diego man who killed his mother with a sword called “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?,” and a remake of Abel Ferrara’s 1993 film Bad Lieutenant” that replaces Harvey Keitel with Nicolas Cage. At the 2009 Oscars Herzog finally won an Oscar, his first nomination, for the Antarctica-set documentary “Encounters At the End of the World.” During his speech he told the crowd “I’m not out to win prizes — that’s for dogs and horses” as well as “Nature here is vile and base. I wouldn’t see anything erotical here. The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing. They just screech in pain.” He then ate his Oscar. Matty Fatty

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