The 5-minute Interview: Werner Herzog, film director

'I really enjoy 'Wrestlemania'. That would be my ideal night out'
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The Independent Online

Werner Herzog, 65, is the multi-award winning director of 'Fitzcarraldo' and 'Aguirre, Wrath of God'. His film 'Rescue Dawn' starring Christian Bale will be available on DVD from 7 April

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Writing an outline for a series of documentaries.

A phrase I use far too often...

"Every man for himself and God against all". It's the title of a film I made and sort of a personal motto.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The death of languages. We have over 6,000 languages and yet in 50 years, 90 per cent will be dead. I think that's a terrible shame. I speak about six, and two of them are already dead – Latin and ancient Greek. I'm reading Virgil's Georgics at the moment to freshen up.

The most surprising thing that happened to me is...

Staying alive, but I am very good at avoiding danger. I have the media to thank for a reputation as an unsafe film-maker, and yet the physical proof is that I've made 54 films and no single actor has ever been injured. I'm good at assessing risks and not pushing others towards them.

A common misperception of me is...

There are too many of them, let them thrive! The misperceptions act as my bodyguards – let there be many Werner Herzogs out there.

The ideal night out is...

I never really spend nights out, they're a bit of a rarity these days. I like attending good soccer matches though, and then heading to the pub for a good beer. I used to be the striker for a very poor 5th division league team. I also really enjoy Wrestlemania. Maybe that would be my ideal night out.

You know me as a film director but in truer life I'd have been...

If cinema didn't exist, I'd probably be a mathematician or a voyager, because I'm curious and I fell in love with the world.

The best age to be is...

There's no best age to be, there's only life.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this...

Scratch where it itches.

Charlie Radcliffe

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