We haven’t been privy to many details on the new Werner Herzog film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, which is being produced by David Lynch and has now (reportedly) finished shooting. Man, Herzog can work bloody fast when he’s got a story to tell.
But The Quiet Earth has both a synopsis and possible poster, featuring a weird vision of Michael Shannon that looks like it was run through Brando and Marty Feldman.
We know the story is loosely based on a true story, which the San Diego Union Tribune recounts. “On June 10, 1979, Mark Yavorsky, then 34, marched across the street from the home in Pacific Beach shared with his mother, Mary Wathan, 65. In a neighbor’s living room, where she had sought refuge, Yavorsky stabbed her to death with a 3-foot antique saber.” Yavorsky had been cast in a stage version of Orestes, the Greek tragedy in which a son kills his mother in revenge for the death of his father.
Shannon plays a version of Yavorsky, named Brad McCullum, and Grace Zabriske plays his mother.
The Quiet Earth’s synopsis fills in events. “The suspect has barricaded himself inside a home and appears to have taken hostages. Two friends he had urgently telephoned earlier that morning arrive, but too late. As they and their neighbors try to come to grips with what has happened, they tell their stories to the detective in charge of the crime scene. In a series of flashbacks, the bizarre story of Brad McCullum begins to emerge… Brad’s unfolding personal and family drama leads to an obsession with the ancient play, finally driving him to murder.”
Willem Dafoe may be playing the lead detective; Chloe Sevigny and Michael Pena are also cast. Sounds like an ideal companion piece to Herzog’s Woyzeck, and a film very much in the mode of the man’s most classic dramatic movies.