22 September 2009

How to cope with Klaus Kinski

Werner Herzog relates the following anecdote in Conquest of the Useless; Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo, the transcription of his notebooks from the years spent at the head of the Amazon river trying to film the movie while simultaneously coping with Amazonian tribesmen and Klaus Kinski (a notoriously volatile actor) -
"When Kinski had his next outburst, the Ashininka-Campa chief and the chief of the Shivankoreni Machiguengas cautiously drew me aside and asked very calmly whether they should kill him for me. To be sure I had heard right, I said, Kill? Whom? They pointed at Kinski, and the way they spoke left no doubt that they were prepared to do the deed in the next sixty seconds. Kinski noticed that something was amiss, and quickly switched from raving mad to deathly ill..."
More re the book after I finish reading it.

Photo credit [Herzog left, Kinski right on a different occasion] to laura9, via Uncertain Times.


  1. If you're reading his book, there's a good chance that you're aware of "My Best Fiend". If not, it's worth popping in the queue.

    a few related items below:


  2. Thanks, John! The photo was perfect, so I harvested it. :.)

    I've requested "My Best Fiend" from the library, tho I'm not sure I can sit through an extended tantrum. Hoping that Herzog blends in some humor.

  3. There are a good variety of moodscapes. Also lots of archival footage, interviews... and a few tantrums... Theirs was a true love-hate relationship.

    I found myself admiring Herzog more and more throughout the film. Kinski often comes off like little more than a petulant boob.

    It was engaging and not lacking in humor. It should be a good complement to the book.

    over and out

  4. Such an amazing film.

    The very real hatred the tribesmen have for Kinski is so evident when they first board his boat in the film*, and it works so well for the scene. A film to see before you die for sure.

    *not giving anything away about the film really.


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