Animator Letters Project; Werner Herzog Redux

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We re-air our in-depth conversation with filmmaker Werner Herzog. And we get some creative inspiration from Pixar animator Austin Madison and from Willie Downs-- the blogger behind the Animators Letters Project.

Willie Downs was an Iraq War vet studying aviation and feeling unfulfilled when he decided to pursue his dream of becoming an animator. He wrote to leaders in the field at Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks Animation for advice. And some answered. With those letters he felt encouraged to follow his dream. Today he's studying animation and maintains a blog of those letters Animators Letters Project. Austin Madison is a Pixar animator whose credits include "Up" and "Ratatouille." His letter on 'persistence' was written for Willie Downs's blog. Werner Herzog talks about his movie "Into The Abyss"--a documentary about a triple homocide and the man sentenced to die for his role in it. He also describes his Rogue Film School where he teaches students to forge film permits and pick locks and generally adopt his take-no-prisoners approach to filmmaking. Herzog also recounts the story of literally eating his own shoe in 1979 to make good on a challenge he gave the then untested filmmaker Errol Morris. That memorable meal was documented in a short film by Les Blank "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe." Plus, he reflects on his unique ability to play villains in movies -- which he'll do opposite Tom Cruise in the film "One Shot."  Herzog says he plays "vile and debased" on screen very well but he's really a "fluffy husband."

Banner image: Filmmaker Werner Herzog at KCRW. Photo by Bill Zelman



Kim Masters