Herzog & Morris
A comedic noir that dramatizes a pivotal moment in the real life relationship between Werner Herzog and Errol Morris during the summer of 1975.
Available on the BendFilm Alumni Film Library,
Written & Directed by Neil Howard Butler
Director of Photography - Stephen Vanderpool
Sound Mixer - Jason McDaniel
Editor - Neil Howard Butler
Music - Jason Chimonides, Io Perry
1st Assistant Camera - Trevor Wilson
Key Grip - Eric Rafael
Location Sound Mixer - Peter Trepke
Second Unit Photography - Pat McDonnell
Chicken Wrangler - Jake Hartman
Production Assistant - Christina Collier
Color & Finishing - Bunte Farben
Online Artist - Timothy Montoya
Colorist - Erich Wilhelm Zander
Supervising Colorist - Stephen Latty
Werner Herzog - Jason Chimonides
Errol Morris - Peter Cellini
Director Q&A from the 2020 Weyauwega Int'l Film Festival where Herzog & Morris screened as part of their PsychoFest program
Director Q&A panel from the 2020 BendFilm Festival where Herzog & Morris premiered
I was researching something quite different when I came across some curious details concerning the early relationship between Werner Herzog and Errol Morris in the mid-1970's. I was fascinated by the twisted adventures these young men undertook together. But I was perhaps more fascinated by why Werner, already an established international filmmaker (if not yet an iconic one), would invest so much time and energy into the exploits of someone who, quite honestly, hadn't accomplished anything of note. The answer perhaps speaks to Werner's intuition as much as his uncertain protege's emerging genius.
In the desperate times before Errol would come to seize his destiny, I picture this self-avowed film noir fanatic as quite trapped in a noir of his own creation. Camped out above the childhood home of serial killer Ed Gein and with yet another project unraveling in his arms, Errol Morris was an anxiety-ridden mess when his trusted friend came calling.
For this film, I have invented but a single conceit: in real life, Errol had already chickened-out and left Plainfield, Wisconsin by the time Werner arrived to help him dig about in the local graveyard. This is the scene I imagine would have taken place if Errol had mustered the courage to face his disappointed mentor. Everything else depicted herein is totally true... The stealing of locations! The eating of footwear! Cash callously tossed out the window! During the course of this apocryphal meeting, the hard shadows of Errol's tortured psyche part for an instant as he catches a glimpse of the creative future that awaits him... if he's got the guts!