Werner Herzog Is A Golden God
April 23rd, 2014
I’ve been cheating on Goodosphere recently — writing daily blog posts for Sideshow, a new pop culture project at Studio 360. While drawing from my mental archives for a Colbert post (he appeared on Letterman last night), I recalled my favorite interview he’s ever had on his Comedy Central show. It was with Werner Herzog, and I’ve personally transcribed the best and final exchange:
Colbert: You’ve caught some flack for your documentaries, because you sometimes make stuff up, or you say “intensify.”
Herzog: Well, in Cave of Forgotten Dreams, there’s a post-script and all of a sudden you see radioactive albino crocodiles in the film. I called the producer when I was shooting and he was in a pet store in Vancouver and had just had bought a cage for a hamster. And he said, “I just bought a cage of a hamster.” And I said, “I’m filming albino mutant crocodiles.” And I hear this clatter. He dropped the cage and said, “You are shooting WHAT?!” And I said, “I’m shooting albino crocodiles and they will be in the film.” So it’s a wild post-script, a wild science-fiction fantasy at the end.
I want the audience with me in wild fantasies – in something that illuminates them. You see, if I were only fact based, the book of books in literature would be the Manhattan phone directory. Four million entries, everything correct, but it dusts out of my ears and I do not know: do they dream at night? Does Mr. Jonathan Smith cry in his pillow at night? We do not know anything when we check all the correct entries in the phone directory. I’m not this kind of a filmmaker.
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