«People call me an “actor”. What’s that? In any case, it has nothing to do with the shit that people have always blabbered about it. It’s neither a vocation nor a profession – although it’s how I earn my living. But then so does the two-headed freak at the carnival. It’s something you have to try and live with – until you learn how to free yourself. It has nothing to do with non-sense like “talent,” and it’s nothing to be conceited or proud of. (…)
What they teach in the acting schools is incredible, hair-raising crap. The Actor’s Studio in America is supposed to be the worst. There the students learn how to be natural — that is, they flop around, pick their noses, scratch their balls. This bullshit is known as ‘method acting.’ How can you ‘teach’ someone to be an actor? How can you teach someone how and what to feel and how to express it? How can anyone teach another person how to laugh and how to cry? How to be cheerful and how to be sad? Teach them what pain is, and despair, and desire, and passion? Hate and love? How can anyone waste their own and somebody else’s time with that idiocy? But far worse than the morons who think they can learn these things are the people who claim they can teach them. In the end, they teach bad manners. If one of their trained poodles sits down in public, he doesn’t sit, he slouches – which is supposed to mean that his behavior is “natural.” He or she scratches his or her head then picks his or her nose, which is supposed to mean that he or she has no complexes and acts very spontaneously. So this is what New York talk shows look like.»
– Klaus Kinski, Kinski Uncut : The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski (1996), p. 310, 313
«Here is this man, Kinski, and you have to put him on the screen. You have to take all his rage, all his intensity, all his demonic qualities, and make them productive for the screen. That was the task and there was no time for learning. I had to master the situation from day one, from the first day of shooting Aguirre. On set you have no choice. I had to be strong enough to shape him and force him to the utmost, beyond the limits of what is normally required for the shooting of a film. But he would push me equally-to the limit. It was not permissible to take even a little step back from his level of intensity and professionalism. And, of course, he literally would have been ready to die with me, if I had died on the ship in the rapids. He would have sunk in the ship with me, and vice versa. But I cannot deny that there were moments, which were dangerous, when we could have killed each other. (…)
We lived in the same pensione. The owner of this place had picked him up from the street, literally, and given him a room and food for free and did his laundry. He entered this place like a tornado, a force of nature, and it didn’t take him one minute to destroy and lay waste to all the furniture. It was strange because I remember that everybody was immediately scared of Kinski. I was the only one who was not scared. I was astonished. I looked at him as if an extraterrestrial had just landed, or a tornado had just struck. The way you watch a natural disaster, sometimes with strange amazement. That is the feeling I remember. Of course, he didn’t remember me, I was a child [13 years old] at the time, and the next time we met it was for Aguirre. As a private person and a filmmaker, I think it was a necessary collaboration, that the two of us found each other. (…)
Kinski was not an actor – I wouldn’t call him an artist either, nor am I. Of course, he mastered the techniques of being an actor, the technique of speech, of understanding the presence of light and of the camera, the choreography of camera and of bodily movements… But at the core of Klaus Kinski was not his existence as an actor – he was something beyond that and apart from it.»
– Werner Herzog, as quoted in A. G. Basoli, The Wrath of Klaus Kinski: An Interview with Werner Herzog, Cineaste, 1999, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p. 32
«He’s a highly talented guy. He does very good movies and he’s not the sort of person who always talks bullshit. He does many, many things right. But he’s also sick. Obsessed. He wants to make history, not movies. Anyone who wants to make history is stupid.»
– Kinski on Werner Herzog, “The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks”, Fangoria #28
«People like Brando are just kindergarten compared to Kinski. He is totally mad and unpredictable. You can see something raging in this man. We liked each other, we hated each other and we respected each other, even though we hatched serious plots to murder each other.»
– Werner Herzog, as quoted in Cintra Wilson, “Devoured by Demons“, Slate, April 22, 2004
.«His speech is clumsy, with a toadlike indolence, long winded, pedantic, choppy. The words tumble from his mouth in sentence fragments, which he holds back as much as possible, as if they were earning interest. It takes forever and a day for him to push out a clump of hardened brain snot. Then he writhes in painful ecstasy, as if he had sugar on his rotten teeth. A very slow blab machine. An obsolete model with a non-working switch — it can’t be turned off unless you cut off the electric power altogether. So I’d have to smash him in the kisser. No, I’d have to knock him unconscious. But even if he were unconscious he’d keep talking. Even if his vocal cords were sliced through, he’d keep talking like a ventriloquist. Even if his throat were cut and his head were chopped off, speech balloons would still dangle from his mouth like gases emitted by internal decay. (…)
He should be thrown alive to the crocodiles! An anaconda should strangle him slowly! A poisonous spider should sting him and paralyze his lungs! The most venomous serpent should bite him and make his brain explode! No — panther claws should rip open his throat — that would be much too good for him! Huge red ants should piss into his lying eyes and gobble up his balls and his guts! He should catch the plague! Syphilis! Yellow fever! Leprosy! It’s no use; the more I wish him the most gruesome deaths, the more he haunts me. (…)
Herzog is a miserable, hateful, malevolent, avaricious, money-hungry, nasty, sadistic, treacherous, cowardly creep. His so-called “talent” consists of nothing but tormenting helpless creatures and, if necessary, torturing them to death or simply murdering them. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything except his career as a so-called filmmaker. Driven by a pathological addiction to sensationalism, he creates the most sensless difficulties and dangers, risking other people’s safety and even their lives — just so he can eventually say that he, Herzog, has beaten seemingly unbeatable odds. For his movies he hires retards and amateurs whom he can push around (and alledgedly hypnotize!), and he pays them starvation wages or zilch. He also uses freaks and cripples of every conceivable size and shape, merely to look interesting. He doesn’t have the foggiest inkling of how to make movies. He doesn’t even try to direct the actors anymore. Long ago, when I ordered him to keep his trap shut, he gave up asking me whether I’m willing to carry out his stupid and boring ideas.»
– Kinski about Herzog, Kinski Uncut : The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski (1996), p. 213, 220-2.
– Telegraph sent to Federico Fellini, Kinski Uncut : The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski (1996), p. 172
A sound recording made during the shooting of Aguirre.
Tribute to Klaus Kinski from Herzog’s “My Best Fiend” (1999)
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. German film director Werner Herzog had made a bet with fledgling director Errol Morris that, if Morris made a film, Herzog would eat his shoe. Morris went on to film ‘Gates of Heaven’, so Herzog kept his promise.
Jesus Christus Erlöser (Jesus Christ Savior), show performed by Klaus Kinski in Nov. 20th, 1971 in Berlin, Germany.
«I’ve come here to tell the most exciting story in the history of mankind: the life of Jesus Christ. I’m not talking about the Jesus in those horribly gaudy pictures. Not the Jesus with the jaundice-yellow skin – whom crazy human society has turned into the biggest whore of all time. Whose corpse they perversely drag around on disgraceful crosses. I don’t mean the jabbering about God or the blubbering hymns. I don’t mean the Jesus whose moldy kiss frightens little girls out of horny dreams before their First Communion and then make them die of shame and disgust when they foam in the latrines. I’m talking about the man: the restless man who says we have to turn over a new leaf all the time, now! I’m talking about the adventurer, the freest, most fearless, most modern of all men, the one who preferred being massacred to rotting with others. I’m talking about the man who is like what all of us want to be. You and I.
Wanted: Jesus Christ. Charged with seduction, anarchistic tendencies, conspiracy against the authority of the state. Distinctive features: scars on hands and feet. Alleged profession: worker. Nationality: unknown. Assumed names: Son of Man, Messenger of Peace, Light of the World, Saviour. The wanted has no permanent home. He doesn´t have any rich friends and usually spends his time in poor neighbourhoods. Surrounding him|are the blasphemous, the stateless, gypsies, prostitutes, orphans, criminals, revolutionaries, anti-social elements, the homeless, the unemployed, convicts, prisoners, fugitives, the hunted, the abused, the enraged, draft dodgers, the desperate, screaming mothers in Vietnam, hippies, bums, junkies, outcasts, death row convicts. Possibly he is a parentless child. Perhaps his mother is a whore. Perhaps his father is a convict, or lives in a commune. The wanted does not belong to this society, or to a political party. Not even the Christian party. Nor to a church. At party conventions or at gatherings, you will never find him. He rejects slogans and manifestos. He is neither Protestant, nor Catholic, nor Negro, nor Jew, nor Communist. He never wears a uniform. The wanted spreads utopian ideas. He must be considered a dangerous instigator. Relevant information leading to his arrest can be submitted to any police station.
I am wanted by the police. I am wanted by the police, because I cry out to the world that the existing world order will perish. An order… that allows priests handing out Holy Communion to soldiers who shoot down women with children in their arms in Vietnam. I am not the official Church Jesus who is accepted by policemen, bankers, judges, executioners, officers, church bosses, politicians and similar representatives of power. I am not your Superstar who keeps playing his part for you on the cross, and whom you hit in the face when he steps out of his role, and who therefore cannot call out to you, “I am fed up with all your pomp and all your rituals! Your incense is disgusting. It stinks of burnt human flesh. I can’t bear your holy celebrations and holidays any longer. You can pray as much as you like, I’m not listening. Keep all your idiotic honours and laudations. I won’t have anything to do with them. I do not want them. I am no pillar of peace and security. Security that you achieve with tear gas and with billy clubs. I am no guarantee for obedience and order either. Order and obedience at reform schools, prisons, penal institutions, insane asylums. I am the disobedient one, the restless one who does not live in any house. Nor am I a guarantee for success, savings accounts and possessions. I am the homeless one without a permanent home who stirs up trouble wherever he goes. I am the agitator, the invoker, I am the scream. I am the hippie, bum, Black Power, Jesus people. I want to free the prisoners. I want to make the blind see. I want to redeem the tortured. I want to cast love into your hearts, the love that reaches out beyond everything that exists. I want to turn you into living human beings, immortals. (…)»