Marc Maron: Do you miss film?
Werner Herzog: Celluloid? No, I am not nostalgic. I still love it. Of course I love it. But digital film making has helped me to work faster and to work less expensively. So that’s why all of a sudden I’m coming out with four films, all of them ready for distribution. The system of distribution is too slow for my output.
MM: What did you lose with celluloid?
WH: Well, the kind of magic of the flicker of 24 frames in a theater. And celluloid, you alway have to understand it as a layer, a three dimensional thin layer of emulsion that stores the information. Whereas digital film is only a file of zeroes and ones. It’s strange that we sense there’s a different life to it.
MM: Also I imagine the editing process is a bit more decisive.
WH: When you work in celluloid, you better come to some conclusions quickly and what I see today in digital editing, there are directors who do not know what they are doing and they create twenty-two parallel versions and they never can decide. I’m editing almost as fast as I am thinking. Because I do not have to search for that small reel of film and look for…making some pen marks on it and glue it, splice it and feed it into a system and roll it to the right moment.
I’m editing much much fast now. Closer to writing in a way, yes.
And I’ve been trying for years to stamp out the legend that the word, that the letters HAL was derived from IBM by one letter displacement. And of course HAL actually stands for Heuristic Algorithmic, H. A. L. But that’s a myth that I can’t quite stamp out. I think that IBM are quite proud of it so I’ve given up the attempt.
– Arthur C. Clarke, the IBM story is “utter nonsense.”
I’ve got a very nice story about Stanley. I’d finished Blade Runner and it was a disaster. And my investors who were giving me a really hard time, said…’You can’t end the film with this picking up this piece of origami, looking at the girl, walking in the elevator, and nodding, that’s called a film noir.’
I said, ‘What’s a film noir.’…
‘We have to test this with an uplifting ending where they will go off into the wilderness together.’
I said, ‘Well if they can go off into the beautiful wilderness, why are they living in this dystopian environment?’
‘Allright, I’ll do it.’
So by then, I had talked to Stanley a few times. I called him up and said listen, ‘I know you shot the hell out of wherever it was in The Shining, and I know you’ve got four and a half months of helicopter stuff…[inaudible]. Can I have some of the stuff because it will suit me fine.’
The next day I had seventeen hours of helicopter footage, it was stunning. So the end of the film in Blade Runner, that’s Stanley Kubrick’s footage…
But he said,’You got a vehicle, what is it?’
‘Oh shit, every shot I have has a Volkswagen in it.’ Then he went, ‘Oh, what did you shoot?’
I said, ‘Anamorphic’
“Ah jolly good, when you project mine, it’ll look oblong. You’ll be fine.’
Then a day later he called me.
‘It’s Stanley. One other thing. I know you’re going through my footage right now. If there’s anything I used, you can’t have it. Got it?’
I went, ‘Okay cool.’
That was it. That was Kubrick.
– Ridley Scott
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