Monday, July 20, 2009

"Please Kill Mr. Kinski"

Last week we reported that Ecco Press will soon publish Werner Herzog's journals written during the production of Fitzcarraldo, which starred Klaus Kinski, who made five films with Herzog when he was alive and, posthumously, played the title role in Herzog's documentary My Best Fiend.. In the clip above, Herzog gets a little misty-eyed as he remembers when the Peruvian Indians who were employed as extras on the set, and who had to listen to Kinksi's endless, eardum-shattering tirades, sweetly asked the director if they'd like for them to see if the actor would be a little less noisy if his head and torso were on separate ends of the room. You might guess that this is as muc a Herzog story as it is a Kinski story, but apparently this was not the last time that someone working with Kinksi on a movie developed a dreamy smile while imagining what the star would look like with pennies on his eyes. More surprisingly, it was not the last time that the director had to do some fast talking to keep his leading man upright until the shoot was finished. In 1986, David Schmoeller directed Kinski in the horror movie Crawlspace; thirteen years later, he described the experience in the wry remembrance below, which we remember seeing for the first time on John Pierson's late, lamented IFC TV series Split Screen. The sound is a little off, but Kinski-lovers and haters alike will find it worth the effort.

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