The Vulture’s Steve Marsh has interviewed Werner Herzog, timed to the recent release of Herzog: The Collection Blu-ray retrospective of the visionary director’s early work. They talked of many things — the physical world, Muhammad Ali, Nazis, Wall Street, Klaus Kinski (“Let’s thank providence on our knees that he didn’t kill anyone”), Nicole Kidman (“I should have made films about women all my life”), Herzog’s “counterintuitive” ways (“No, no, no, I know what I’m doing”) — and weed, sort of. Apparently, Herzog had a not-so-fun experience when Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh fed him weed marmalade without his knowledge. Minor geographic confusion ensued.
I’ve been to Iquitos and have done ayahuasca there. Have you been under psychedelic drugs?
Is it because you like to be in control?
No, it’s not a question of control. I simply don’t like the culture of drugs. I never liked the hippies for it. I think it was a mistake to be all the time stoned and on weed. It didn’t look right and it doesn’t look right today either and the damage drugs have done to civilizations are too enormous. And besides, I don’t need any drug to step out of myself. I don’t want them and I do not need them. And you may not believe this, big-eyed as you sit here now, but I’ve not even taken a puff of weed in my life.
When was the first time you refused a joint?
Oh, I do not refuse it. I just pass the joint on to the next and let them do it. It’s their business. I don’t want to do it. Actually, I was completely stoned once with the composer Florian Fricke in Popol Vuh. I was at his home and he had pancakes and marmalade. And I smeared the marmalade and he started chuckling and chuckling. And I ate it and it tasted very well and I wanted another one and took another good amount of the marmalade and the marmalade had weed in it. He didn’t even tell me. I was so stoned that it took me an hour to find my home in Munich. I circled the block for a full hour until finding my place. So I have had the experience.
Was it terrifying?
No, it wasn’t terrifying. It was just weird. Because I have a good sense of orientation.
The German electronic avant-garde band Popol Vuh provided the soundtrack for many of Herzog’s most memorable films and sequences, including Cobra Verde, Nosferatu, Heart of Glass, Fitzcarraldo, Aguirre, the Wrath of God and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.
Here’s the soundtrack to imagining Werner Herzog wandering around Munich looking for his house.