EXTRA LETTER: Werner Herzog's Proposal Letter to The Killers


This was something I wrote for Sabotage Times on the occasion of Werner making a film with The Killers. As you can see from the finished movie, every one of the stringent demands that Herzog insisted on was complied with.

I understand you wish me to record a performance by the music group The Killers. On hearing this notion I wretched and thrashed quite violently. So obviously I must comply with it, as this is the criteria for all my projects. However, the following stipulations must occur for beauty to be reached.

1. Rather than ‘The Killers in Concert’, I insist that the film be titled ‘Aid Me My Father For I Have Sinned Against The Blackened Mountain. Again.' The poster will feature a tree that is spent.

2. The music group, management, caterers and road crew will be hypnotised at all times and dressed like Sages from the House of Mecklenburg. I have a man that can come in and do this. He is very reasonable.

3. I propose that instead of the event occurring at Madison Square Garden as suggested, we allow it to occur upon the landing of a drop-in centre for single mothers in Poole, Dorset, England. The light there is quite insufficient and thus, perfect.

4. The music group must walk out onto the stage as triumphantly as Saint Philastrius striding into the basilica at Brescia. Then the entire audience will throw clay at them. The clay will make any kind of movement quite impossible. Rather than applause, the audience will display appreciation by baring their teeth. The venue will be unbearably hot.

5. On occasion, various persons of the music group will be represented on stage by members of the painful Estonian clown group ‘Fissure’ who are known to burn those that come to see them. Elsewhere by albinos.

6. I forbid hats.

7. I will require at least 17 lizards of a length and shade to be decided later. Also a blue horse (not dyed), a Muntjac and the actor Jared Leto (shaved). And too many butterflies. Also, it will be helpful if I am followed by a stout beggar playing the accordion constantly during the process. I need to be reminded of the dark.

8. The film will be silent. On occasion, the music group will be filmed performing their pop hits, but the sound of gutter-water falling from a bad widow will be heard.

9. There will be a single camera, operated by me. This camera will be broken and quite useless and I shall have a bad shoulder that day. It will also be in 3D. The soundman will have leukaemia.

10. See number 6.

11. Several scenes from Police Academy 6: City Under Siege will be included in the final cut. The reasons for this will be obvious later.

12. Everyone must travel to the venue by sow.

13. I am happy to entertain any suggestions from the music group, though these must be presented to me formally, etched on parchment and written in the language used in the film Nell. Collaboration can only work when one dominant party is allowed to ignore the thoughts of everyone else and work quite unfettered.

14. I plan to make this film the final part of my ‘penguin trilogy’ following Encounters at the End of the World and the upcoming Happy Feet: Port of Call Antarctica. Please inform the music group there might be some prosthetics and noises required for this.

15. I will need a barge. I cannot explain why.

16. Finally, when the film is released, patrons will have to walk a distance of at least eight miles to see it, on streets that are poorly lit and heavily pockmarked. I want people to feel as if they are embarking on a great journey and realise that only disappointment awaits.

Herzog.