Occasioned by the release of his internet documentary “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” this week, Werner Herzog made an appearance on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. The interview was typically insightful, strange and humorous in the way that only Herzog can be, with 10 ecstatic truths emerging as especially noteworthy:
The last thing he read was an obscure historian from Greek antiquity, because of course it was.
Herzog calls the saga he read as a “soap-opera story” about Alexander the Great’s father, though the historian in question is “a fairly unintelligent writer.”
Surprisingly, he rarely dreams.
The filmmaker says he dreams “maybe once in a year.” In the last dream he remembers, Herzog was being pursued in Mexico “by God knows what” and gets knocked down. A priest then came to pick him up, shook him and asked him, “Do you believe in the forces of evil? Do you renounce Satan himself?” Dream Herzog responded, “I do not believe in evil; I only believe in stupidity.”
He converted to Catholicism at age 13 or 14, but it didn’t last long.
This is one subject he didn’t much elaborate on, as he felt it would require too nuanced (and lengthy) a discussion.
The filmmaker knows we think he’s funny.
“My humor on the internet has quite often become viral,” Herzog says.
He considers the first time two computers “spoke” to one another more momentous than the invention of the printing press or the discovery of America.
Herzog has four different films ready for release.
“Lo and Behold” is out this week; “Into the Inferno,” his new documentary on volcanoes, will premiere at Telluride in a few weeks (which he probably wasn’t supposed to reveal); “Salt and Fire” recently bowed in Shanghai and “Queen of the Desert” first began making the festival rounds early last year.
His approach to narratives and documentaries isn’t especially different.
“Everything is movies for me.”
Five of the albino crocodiles seen in “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” escaped last year.
One of them is still at large, presumably serving as a bizarre, profound metaphor somewhere in France.
Acting “comes easily” to him now, and he loved playing the villain in “Jack Reacher.”
“I was really good in it, and I was paid handsomely to be as frightening as it gets — and man am I frightening.”
He considers Michael Shannon the best actor of his generation.
“There’s no one like him. I love the man,” he says of the actor, whose charisma “comes from somewhere else and we cannot even name it.”