A Short History of...

Werner Herzog

By Matt Prigge
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 11, 2007

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With his new film Rescue Dawn opening this weekend, we take a look back at the eccentric director's most outlandish moments.

1970: Made Even Dwarfs Started Small, a film with an all-dwarf cast.

1971: While shooting Fata Morgana, was arrested and even tortured by Cameroon police officials after a crew member was mistakenly identified as a wanted mercenary.

1972: Claims to have pulled a loaded gun on Klaus Kinski on the Peruvian set of Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Quoth Werner: "You leave this jungle now and you'll find eight bullets in you, and the ninth will be for me." Kinski denied the incident.

1974: Cast Bruno S., a former mental patient and schizophrenic, in The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser, and again in Stroszek (1977).

1975: Hypnotized the entire cast of Heart of Glass.

1977: Made La Soufri�re, a doc about a Caribbean island whose active volcano was about to explode. It didn't, but Herzog claims it was the only time he willingly put his life at risk for a film.

1980: Agreed to eat his shoe after losing a bet to Errol Morris over whether he would complete his doc Gates of Heaven.

1982: Made Fitzcarraldo deep within the Amazon. Far, far too much to recount here; see Les Blank's Burden of Dreams for the lowdown.

1988: Was lambasted by the notoriously unrestrained Kinski in his breathtakingly scatological memoir All I Need Is Love. Herzog later claimed Kinski made most of it up to sell books.

1999: Made My Best Fiend, about the since deceased Kinski. Among Herzog's claims is that he turned down an offer from native tribesman on the Fitzcarraldo set to have Kinski rubbed out.

2005: During an interview for Grizzly Man, was shot by an air rifle. Laughing off his bleeding gut, he remarked, "It is not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

2006: Pulled Joaquin Phoenix from a car wreck. After calling an ambulance, he reportedly vanished.

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