An Actor Prepares (To Drive His Director Crazy!)

klaus-kinski-crawlspaceIt’s no secret that the late Klaus Kinski was often difficult to work with on the sets of his many, many films. Werner Herzog made an entire feature about his tempestuous relationship with Kinski, My Best Fiend, in which he refers to him both as an actor of extraordinary gifts as well as “a pestilence” responsible for the grey hairs on his head.

While we await the inevitable screen biography of K2* and Kinski fans content themselves with his impressive and eccentric body of work, every once in a while, a fresh tidbit concerning his off-camera exploits appears to delight one and all…or maybe just me, if I turn out to be the last of his admirers to stumble upon and view Please Kill Mr. Kinski, a fantastic short film made by Tourist Trap director David Schmoeller, who had the (mis?)fortune of employing Kinski for his production of the 1986 shocker Crawlspace.

Schmoeller had already been warned about the perils of working with Kinski before rolling on the first take. Dedicated fans and filmmakers alike will surely agree, however, that not even the most heart-stopping anecdotes about past antics would have dissuaded them from jumping at the opportunity to make use of the German Olivier’s special intensity.

The short is a charming blend of first-person narrative by Schmoeller mixed with “making-of” footage and some hilarious (and very off-color) interview bits of Klaus spouting off about the idiocy of directors in general. Enjoy:

* There simply must be a future film made about Kinski’s life and career. Were it within my power to greenlight such a project, I’d use his notoriously profane autobiography All I Need Is Love (published in the U.S. as Kinski Uncut) as the spine of an aggressive and surreal study of the man and the myth. And maybe cast Willem Dafoe in the title role—there’d be a certain kind of poetry to that, I think, seeing as how Dafoe already portrayed Max Schreck, the screen’s first Nosferatu. Dafoe regularly updates his credentials as the movies’ most fearless actor (as the two or three other people who have watched Antichrist (article) can appreciate), so he obviously wouldn’t be put off by the extremity of the part. Anyone who’s been lucky enough (?) to survey the excruciatingly weird vulgarities highlighting Klaus’ last film, Kinski Paganini, will no doubt concur that this approach would clearly be to Kinski’s liking—that is, once he’d finished a screaming tirade condemning all those involved.