My Secret Life: Werner Herzog

'I'm a good villian'

My parents were... I didn't know much of my father, he disappeared quickly and I never had much affinity with him. My mother was of Croatian decent. She raised three boys in post-war Germany, which was very hard and very admirable.

The household I grew up in... We grew up in a tiny house next to a farmhouse in the remotest mountain valley in Bavaria. There was no running water, we had to fetch water with a bucket from a well. There was no toilet, just an outhouse. It was a wonderful childhood.

When I was a child I wanted to be... We were so absorbed with our childhood that it didn't occur to us that there were professions out there. I didn't see any films until I was 11.

If I could change one thing about myself... I wouldn't change anything. I'm not one of those who wants to be somewhere else. I'm comfortable enough with what I am.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... I'm a good villain. I acted a villain in a movie recently with Tom Cruise.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... cooking soups and sweet things.

I wish I had never worn... I hardly notice what I'm wearing.

At night I dream of... I do not dream. People claim that every person dreams, but all the psychologists and psychiatrists are wrong. I dream maybe once in two years.

When I look in the mirror I see... I do not see myself, I do not want to see myself. I only know the colour of my eyes from my passport.

My house is... very inhabitable and it has very high ceilings with skylights. There are shafts of light coming in, which gives the feeling of being in an open space.

Movie heaven... I don't experience movie heaven, but there is heaven in poetry, in reading, in music.

I drive... an SUV in the United States, which is 15 years old. I have to hand crank the window.

My real-life villain... is stupidity. You can see it in recent wars waged by empty hearts and armed stupidities.

The person who really makes me laugh... Buster Keaton.

My five-year plan... I can't even tell you what's going to happen in the next five weeks; I have no plan. Films come at me like burglars in the night. I have no idea who will next be in my kitchen at 3am.

What's the point? When I write I never have a window nearby. I make crosshairs on the wall, have it in sharp focus: that's the point.

My life in six words... It's a slalom into the unknown.

A LIFE IN BRIEF

Werner Herzog was born in Munich on 5 September 1942; two weeks later his family fled to the Bavarian village of Sachrang. His first film, Signs of Life, won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Jury Prize in 1968. His films have won awards at the Venice Film Festival, Cannes and the Emmys. Herzog moved to the States in 1995. He has three children and lives in LA with his third wife, Lena. Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life is out now, and Death Row is released on DVD by Revolver Entertainment in May

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine