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Werner Herzog is known as the director who drags his actors out into the wilderness and makes them do crazy, crazy stuff. He made multiple movies in the jungle with Klaus Kinski and, at one point, threatened to kill him. He made Christian Bale eat maggots in Rescue Dawn, not to mention losing insane amounts of weight. And even his documentaries are far from ordinary-- remember the hippie eaten by bears in Grizzly Man?

So, fans of the weird and wonderful Herzog might need to worry-- he might be going mainstream on us. Herzog's latest project, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is the kind of movie Anthony Minghella probably would have made into irrresistible Oscar bait. Based on an acclaimed novel? Set in the past? An epic love story? Werner Herzog, are you trying to break our hearts?

Herzog will be writing and directing The Piano Tuner, based on the 2002 novel by Daniel Mason about a British man sent to Burma in the late 1800s to fix the piano of an eccentric military leader. He falls in love with a woman there, and grows to love the war-torn country, until politics infringe on him after all.

So it's set out in the wilderness, which is Herzog's favorite place, and it has all sorts of potential to explore the relationship between man and nature. But it's also a literary adaptation, and it's coming from Focus Features, a studio that's been angling for an Oscar but hasn't quite gotten it. Would Herzog's most mainstream and expensive film finally do the trick? It'll definitely get a attention, that's for sure. And a movie that could be immediately written off as a snoozer-- The Piano Tuner? That's an exciting title?-- will definitely be spiced up by Herzog's eccentric interests. Get Christian Bale in the cast, pump up the production values, and Focus might finally get its Oscar after all.
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