The film is titled Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. It is being written by William M. Finkelstein, a television writer/producer. The cast is an odd hodgepodge of actors and actresses which includes such people as Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, Eva Mendes, Fairuza Balk and even Xzibit. This is going to be an odd ride.
Herzog has attained some of the recognition he deserves, and finally, mainstream talent has sought out his projects. Even though the original director, Abel Ferrara, is furious about the project.
As far as remakes go, Harvey begged me not to say anything mean, or stupid. [pause] But I wish these people die in Hell. I hope they're all in the same streetcar, and it blows up."
So, yes or no: Is Bad Lieutenant a project you're working on with Nicolas Cage?
Yes, but its not a remake. It's like, for example, you wouldn't call a new James Bond movie a remake of the previous one — although the name of the bad lieutenant is a different one, and the story is completely different. It's very interesting because Nicolas Cage really wants to work with me, and just anticipating working with an actor of his caliber is just wonderful.
Why this project, though? You could have worked on anything.
There's an interesting screenplay; it's a very, very dark story. It's great because it seems to reflect a side of the collective psyche — sometimes there are just good times for film noir. They don't come out of nowhere. There was some sort of a mysterious context with the understanding of people in that particular time. And it's going to be in New Orleans, which is a fascinating place. Part of it was the decision of the producers for tax incentives — which is totally legitimate. However, I thought to myself: "We have seen a lot of New York in movies; we have not seen New Orleans in feature films." Or very few feature films. After Katrina it's a particularly interesting set-up. The neglect and politics after the hurricane struck are something quite amazing. It has to do with public morality.
Speaking of which, the original film's director, Abel Ferrara, has vowed to fight this project, and —
Wonderful, yes! Let him fight! He thinks I'm doing a remake.
Have you talked to him?
No. I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is. But let him fight the windmills, like Don Quixote.
Have you heard his comments at all? He says he hopes "these people die in Hell."
Do you relate to that passion?
No, because it's like theater thunder. It's like being backstage in the 19th century, with the machines that make thunder. It has nothing do with with his film. But let him rave and rant; it's good music in the background.
I've gotta side with Herzog on this one. Abel Ferrara is talking out his ass, and is probably just pissy that he isn't involved in the project. And, by the way, Ferrara had remade other people films before(check out his crappy remake of the Sci-Fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Another case of the pot calling the kettle black.