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Awesomely true story: Werner Herzog pulled Joaquin Phoenix from car wreck

By / 09.15.10

Just released by First Look Studios in support of today’s DVD release of My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, here’s an animated version (created by Sascha Ciezata) of Werner Herzog telling the story of how he once pulled Joaquin Phoenix from the wreckage of a car crash.  Between this and Gary Busey helping a crash victim a few weeks ago, I’m beginning to think of Malibu as a magical land full of batsh*t celebrities playing bumper cars with each other on city streets.  Anyway, I transcribed the part that picks up just after Werner Herzog sees a car going too fast lose control and shoot up an embankment, eventually coming to rest on its roof.  Herzog is the first person on the scene and discovers that the driver is none other than MC Poo Pants himself, Joaquin Phoenix.

“It was clear I couldn’t get him out through the window, and the moment I diverted my attention from him, he had picked up a cigarette and tried to light the cigarette.  And I said to him, ‘Man, relax.’  And he said to me very calmly, ‘I am relaxed.’  And I said to him, ‘No you are not.’  And what I noticed and what he was not really aware, was that gasoline was dripping throughout the car.  So I confiscated the cigarette lighter and then I crushed the rear window and got him out.”

After that, I imagine he disarmed some car jackers, then held forth for a three-hour lecture on 17th century French imperialism that was so beautiful that afterward they cried and thanked him and promised to turn their lives around.  If those Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” ads were halfway accurate, they’d star Werner Herzog.  He once got shot in the belly during an interview, an experience about which he said, ‘Nein.  Das eest eine flesh vound.  Eez poetry.” He once filled a movie full of midgets laughing maniacally, just to see how it felt



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