Possibly the most entertaining aspect of Stu Van Airsdale’s Defamer interview with Werner Herzog is the filmmaker’s insistence that he has never heard of Abel Ferrara, the guy who wished death upon him for daring to remake Bad Lieutenant. It just reeks of classic Herzogian trouble in the making.

But the big news out of that interview may set Ferrara at ease and cause him to retract his death wish – Herzog insists his movie is not a remake. It’s not even set in New York; this time the action is in New Orleans. Sayeth Werner: “[B]ut its not a remake. It’s like, for example, you wouldn’t call a new James Bond movie a remake of the previous one — although the name of the bad lieutenant is a different one, and the story is completely different. It’s very interesting because Nicolas Cage really wants to work with me, and just anticipating working with an actor of his caliber is just wonderful.”

James Bond? What a weird comparison. Does this mean Bad Lieutenant is now a franchise? Will our greatest actors all step into the role, essaying a different bad lieutenant in a different city each time. Will Jesus be like the Moneypenny of this James Bond universe? Will we be comparing masturbation scenes between all the different Bad Lieutenants like we compare Bond opening action set pieces?

By the way: an actor of Cage’s caliber? I take it Herzog still hasn’t gotten to the part of his DVD ‘To Watch’ pile where the National Treasure duology sits.

As to what drew Herzog to the project: “There’s an interesting screenplay; it’s a very, very dark story. It’s
great because it seems to reflect a side of the collective psyche —
sometimes there are just good times for film noir. They don’t come out
of nowhere. There was some sort of a mysterious context with the
understanding of people in that particular time.”


He also likes setting it in the post-Katrina Big Easy (which is still feeling very empty; I was just there last week). For the rest of Herzog’s thoughts on the matter, click through to Defamer.