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Werner Herzog on "Soldiers of Cinema," Eating His Shoe and More for Viral Don't Text While Driving Doc (WATCH VIDEO)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 16, 2013 at 12:17PM

Werner Herzog has hit the media for his viral Don't Text While Driving 35-minute documentary "From One Second to the Next" (watch below), being interviewed on NPR this morning, and by the Hollywood Reporter yesterday as the 70-year-old director accepted a Lifetime Achievement award at the Locarno International Film Festival. As is to be expected, the legendary German auteur is providing plenty of fascinating, poetic and eccentric quotes. Highlights below.
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Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog has hit the media for his viral Don't Text While Driving 35-minute documentary "From One Second to the Next" (watch below), being interviewed on NPR this morning, and by the Hollywood Reporter yesterday as the 70-year-old director accepted a Lifetime Achievement award at the Locarno International Film Festival. As is to be expected, the legendary German auteur is providing plenty of fascinating, poetic and eccentric quotes. Highlights below.

Herzog explained to NPR that originally he was signed on for four 30-second Don't Text While Driving PSA spots, but realized the "deep emotions" and "inner landscape" of the subject required a lengthier piece. You can watch Herzog's first -- and very effective -- short PSA on the issue here. "From One Second to the Next" is currently clocking almost 1.75 million hits on YouTube.

On his decision to make a film for a mobile phone company (from NPR):

"It's not an art house film, let's face it. It's a public service announcement film. And the message is very simple. Don't text and drive. It's as simple as that.

And the reaction is coming in ... I mean, hundreds of emails coming in, parents writing to me. One teenage girl writes to me, 'I sat down my mother and I told her, 'You are texting when you're taking me to school; you are not going to do that again.' My mother doesn't even take her cellphone with her [in the car] anymore.'

So there is an effect, and that's the only thing that counts."

On being a "soldier of cinema" (from THR):

"I only mention the soldier because I don't have a better term to use when I respond to someone who calls me an “artist” or a “genius of film.” Terms like that bewilder me. They are hollow and strange, and don’t mean anything. That’s when I say that I am a soldier. It means that I have a certain courage, and by that I secure a post which nearly everybody has already deserted."

On the many fake Werner Herzogs on social media (from THR):

"I am aware of them, about the 20 or 30 Werner Herzogs on Facebook, Twitter, and so on, and I could easily "turn them off." But I let them be because I regard them as kinds of soldiers. Let them fight their fight out there in my name. They function like bodyguards."

On eating a shoe in 1978 as a promise to filmmaker Errol Morris (from THR):

"I didn’t eat the sole which was made of rubber, only the leather parts. Our digestive system can deal with that. Theoretically, you could also eat your belt. The problem was I cooked the shoes for too long, and the leather became hard. Luckily, I had a lot of beer with me there, and I managed to swallow it with that. I really can't tell you what it tasted like, because I was already too drunk by the time I ate it."


This article is related to: News, Werner Herzog, News, Video


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.