German film director Werner Herzog says he accepted his role in Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian so that he could fund his own film project. Herzog’s casting in the Star Wars spinoff show was officially confirmed in December last year and though firm details regarding exactly who he’ll play are scarce, the director has since revealed in interviews that he’s set to play a villain. Herzog will star alongside fellow confirmed cast members including Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano and Carl Weathers.
Although Herzog is best known for his directing work - which includes epics like Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo and documentaries Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World and Grizzly Man - he’s dipped his toes into acting several times during his colorful career. He previously played villain The Zec in the 2012 film Jack Reacher and had a cameo as Keg Jeggings on sitcom Parks and Recreation. Herzog has also lent his voice to animated shows including Rick and Morty as alien civil rights leader Shrimply Pibbles and The Simpsons as German doctor Walter Hotenhoffer.
It’s safe to say that the director is no stranger to acting but in the case of The Mandalorian, Herzog didn’t accept the role purely because of his love of the craft. According to Vanity Fair, Herzog took the part in order to self-fund his forthcoming film Family Romance LLC. In fact, Herzog isn’t even all that familiar with Star Wars, though he did like The Mandalorian script and the role he was offered:
“I had a very, very vague idea of what Star Wars was all about … I asked for the full screenplays, and I looked into the part, and it looked good and interesting. The only reason for having me in the film is they needed somebody who would spread terror and be frightening for the audience. I said, ‘Yes I think I can give you this stylization.’ It came with great ease.”
His main motivation, however, was being able to self-finance Family Romance LLC. The micro-budgeted movie is inspired by a Japanese company of the same name that hires out actors to regular people as stand-ins for family members and friends. Like many of Herzog’s works, it’s an unusual film and his unique approach to making it shows why self-financing was needed. The film uses an incomplete script, features Japanese-speaking amateur actors and is filmed in Japan - basically, it’s not the kind of movie Hollywood financiers would rush to throw money at.
It certainly sounds like an interesting project though. The theme of the film is the lengths us humans will go to experience emotional connection and it’ll explore scenarios including a woman who hires a male actor to impersonate a father figure for her daughter and another woman who hires an actor to walk her bride-to-be daughter down the aisle because she doesn’t trust her alcoholic husband. According to Herzog, he faced competition from the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ryan Gosling in securing the intellectual rights to make the movie but thanks to a rapport with Yuichi Ishii - the real-life owner of Family Romance LLC who stars in the film too - he was able to nab the film before they did.
Back to Herzog’s experience acting in The Mandalorian. Apparently, he took a few acting cues from Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger who he directed on his infamously disastrous film Fitzcarraldo and was able to switch from regular Mick to villain in seconds flat once in he stepped in front of the camera. You can see the results of Herzog’s Jagger-inspired approach to acting when The Mandalorian airs later this year.
The Mandalorian premieres November 12th on Disney+.
Source: Vanity Fair