Werner Herzog Challenges Abel Ferrara To A Duel

When most directors announce they're planning a remake of a beloved arty film, the result in the film community is something like “Shield your eyes! It's the apocalypse!” But not, apparently, if you're Werner Herzog. When he announced last month that he was planning to remake Abel Ferrara's 1992 drama Bad Lieutenant, with Nicolas Cage replacing Harvey Keitel in the title role, pretty much everyone was at least a little bit curious.

And now Herzog, perhaps to drum up publicity for the film or perhaps because he's truly unhinged, is fanning the flames of a battle between himself and Ferrara. The original director, when hearing about the remake, apparently said at Cannes, “"I wish these people die in Hell. I hope they’re all in the same streetcar, and it blows up.” But Herzog claims he's not bothered by the complaint, not because he disrespects Ferrara, but because he doesn't know who he is. Seriously! In an interview with Defamer, he said, “I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is. I don't feel like doing an homage to Abel Ferrara because I don't know what he did — I've never seen a film by him. I have no idea who he is. Is he Italian? Is he French? Who is he?

Bear in mind, Herzog is known for being a bit loony tunes, but this is surprising even for him. Does that mean he hasn't even seen Bad Lieutenant, the original? Herzog claims his movie won't be a remake but a continuation of the story-- “It's like, for example, you wouldn't call a new James Bond movie a remake of the previous one .” So is he intentionally trying to distance himself from Ferrara to avoid comparisons between the movie? Or is he just being a dick about it for fun?

Herzog also encouraged Ferrara to keep up the fight, which we all know is the one thing that will make him angrier-- nothing's worse than when someone won't take your anger seriously. “It's like theater thunder. It's like being backstage in the 19th century, with the machines that make thunder. It has nothing do with with his film. But let him rave and rant; it's good music in the background. So will we see escalation the battle? All I know is Werner Herzog and Nic Cage ought to stay away from streetcars. That is, provided they can find any. Who rides streetcars anymore, huh Abel?

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend