Werner Herzog Got Shot On-Camera (And Shrugged It Off)

He spent 14 years in the jungle, but the streets of L.A. almost got him.
Werner Herzog Got Shot On-Camera (And Shrugged It Off)

It's strange to think that, for an entire generation, Werner Herzog is just that cooky German actor from Rick and Morty and The Mandalorian, a cinematic novelty who speaks like a Weimar philosopher who misjudged his daily opium dosage.

So perhaps it's time to remind everyone just what kind of absolute madman the mumbler of the jungle truly is. And for my money, it's not his morose mad-cap movies that encapsulate Herzog's abyss-gazing insanity best, but that the time he got shot during an interview and just didn't give a shit:

In 2006, Herzog was the subject of a BBC interview about Grizzly Man, the documentary where Herzog (almost mockingly) captures the life and inevitable death of bear-hugger Timothy Treadwell. For some indiscernible reason, film critic and Britain's scariest substitute teacher Mark Kermode decided to conduct this interview on the mean streets of downtown Los Angeles -- perhaps in a futile attempt to make Herzog not the most intimidating part of the scenery. And this wish was simultaneously granted and undone when, in true L.A. fashion, some rando shoots Herzog in the gut.

Not that you'd figure that by Herzog's reaction, mind, as the director who once insisted on dragging an entire steamship across a Peruvian mountain at the objection of literally everyone involved in the film except himself is not impressed. With the interview crew in a panic, he does accede to go to a second location to inspect his wound. There, confronted with his own mortality, Herzog simply observes in his documentary-narrating fashion: "It is not a significant bullet."

And, yeah, if you only know Herzog from being the creepy bad guy in Jack Reacher, that may come as a bit of a surprise. But this is a man who ate maggots and got tortured on set just so that Christian Bale wouldn't feel bad about having to go through it himself in Rescue Dawn. A madman who once threatened to gun down the scariest and most violent actor of his generation, Klaus Kinski, if he huffed off Herzog's set on Aguirre, the Wrath of God. An absolute madlad who ate his own shoe to honor a bet and only stopped at the sole because one would not "eat the bones of a chicken." 

So when a man like that says: "It's not an everyday thing, but it doesn't surprise me to be shot at," you can feel in the gravitas of his voice that he means it -- and just doesn't care. Because if you take a shot at the king of nihilism, it doesn't matter if you miss or not. 

For more weird tangents, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

Top Image: BBC

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