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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Meeting Werner Herzog

So I met Werner Herzog today.

No big deal...... just probably one of the 50 greatest directors of all time......actually #35 according to Entertainment Weekly........no biggie.

Yeah Right.

He was over at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove doing a signing to promote his movie Grizzly Man . It happened completely by chance though, we were at the Grove celebrating my wife's Birthday, we put a reservation in at the cheesecake Factory and decided to stretch our legs a bit. As we walked by I saw a little sign in the store promoting the event, at first I didn't pay it any mind because I figured, with my luck, it wasn't going to be for today, and this was my last day off this week. Erin saw the look of disappointment on my face and asked what was wrong. I informed her that Herzog was going to do a signing here and that I'd probably miss it. She looked at the sign and informed me that it was actually for today. I still didn't get too excited cause I figured the thing starts in 15 minutes and there's probably a huge line. I went up to take a look and I was shocked to find a line of about 30 people.

30 friggin people for Werner Herzog!!!

I almost leaped down to the first floor wanting to buy a copy of Grizzly Man. A part of me was bummed cause if I'd known about the event I would have loved to have him sign my copy of Nosferatu. When I got to the register I saw they had a copy of Fitzcarraldo next to the pile of Grizzly Man dvd's. I asked them if he was only going to sign Grizzly Man and they informed me that he would sign anything.

As much as I liked Grizzly Man, there was no WAY I was going to pass up the opportunity for him to sign Fitzcarraldo.

I forked over the 34 dollars it cost to purchase the DVD. I knew the store was ripping me off but hell, I got caught up in the moment.

My wife, God bless her, was all excited for me. She knew I was a big fan of Herzog. We actually spent a whole day in bed once watching a festival of his movies playing on IFC. They showed My Best Fiend, Fitzcarraldo, and both versions of Nosferatu. For months I would tease her, playfully nibbling on her neck proclaiming "I'm Nosferatu."

Let me just mention, I'm not really an autograph hound. I would never ask for an actor's autograph. But getting a director to sign a dvd is like getting an author to sign a book. I think it's pretty cool when you have a chance.

When I was in line I noticed he was having long conversations with people up there.

Long conversations... seriously about 5 minutes for some.

I'm usually pretty embarrassed when I ask people to sign stuff. I'm usually not really prepared to have a whole conversation with the person. I'd almost prefer that they sign in silence. I mean I've seen My Best Fiend and Burden of Dreams. I've listened to the commentary on Nosferatu. The guy isn't shy about the way he works when asked, there's not too much I don't know regarding his process.

I didn't want to appear like an autograph hound, and say nothing, at the same time, the line had started to grow behind me, and I didn't want to put him in an awkward position of carrying a long conversation.

So I figured I'd mention his movie Rescue Dawn , which is a movie trailer I featured in my last post.

Here's our conversation word for word......from what I can remember.

He gives me a big smile as I walk up, extending his hand.

Ray: Nice to meet you sir. It's a real honor.

W. H. (with his accent) Thank you. Nice to meet you too. (While shaking my hand.) What do you have for me? (He sees the DVD cover.) Ahh Fitzcarraldo.

Ray: Yes, great movie, one of my favorites.

(He examines the cover.)

Ray: I'm really looking forward to Rescue Dawn.

(He gives me a genuine look of surprise.)

W.H. Yes I've just started to edit it.....today actually. I had a little trouble...not enough money...the finances weren't all there...so I had to wait. But it's fine now. I'm really excited though. It's going to be really intense. Really, really intense.

Ray: Wow, I look forward to seeing it. I was wondering....were you worried about Christian losing all that weight again.

W.H. He didn't lose that much weight. (Completely straight)

Ray: Really?

W.H. Only 55 pounds.

(I laugh.)

W.H. Actually I....... lost 30 pounds during the movie.

Ray: REALLY? Wow.

W.H. Yeah I figured it would look wrong if I made the actors starve themselves, and I didn't look bad too.

(I laughed again. As he signed my Dvd cover)

Ray: Thank you

W.H. Thank YOU very much. Nice to meet you.

He signed my dvd cover.

To Ray,

Best Wishes

Werner Herzog

Really nice guy. I'm so happy to have met him. He was so friendly to everyone too. Allowed people to take pictures, he signed everything people brought.

It was a lot of fun, I feel really lucky to have met him.



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4 comments:

Myst3r1o said...

Wow, Ray... Congrats! I think I've heard his name before, but I'm not too sure if I've ever seen anything he's directed before though. :(

Well, that's cool dude! Were the others around when you got you're dvd signed?

Ari said...

Very nice.

Lons said...

Can't BELIEVE I friggin' MISSED THIS. Werner! One of the greatest single living directors!

Brian said...

Herzog came to my class a few months back and presented "Rescue Dawn" and chatted with us a little. Cool guy...Definately doesn't mind long conversations with random people. The only sad thing, in a class of over 50 people, I'd say only about six (including me and the instructor) knew who this guy was.