NEW WERNER HERZOG FILM: "THE GYMNAST" (2008, Wild Blue Yonder Productions)
(AP) Werner Herzog's latest project, a documentary entitled The Gymnast, finds him shooting super-8 footage at the Olympics in Beijing.
"I am fascinated by Olympic athletes because they realize their physical potential in a way that few of us ever can or will," says Herzog, his worn frame clad in a black leather jacket with a frayed wool collar. "I am no athlete, but I am going to compete in the Olympics this year on my own terms."
That's right. Herzog, no stranger to controversy or publicity, fully plans on entering the Olympic arena himself. The event? The pommel horse.
"My cinematographer Chris Doyle jokes that I am going to 'pummel' the pommel horse," Herzog says in his detached, German accent. Although he will not audition for admission to the games, Olympic officials have agreed to allow him to enter under certain conditions.
Wei Ling, Chief Medical Officer at the Olympics, has insisted that Herzog undergo a physical before entering the games. "I also have to undergo the same battery of drug and steroid tests as the other Olympic athletes. Do they really think I am going to test positive? I am Werner Herzog. This is enough."
Zhang Yimou, the famed Chinese film-maker who will be directing the opening ceremonies, plans to lend Herzog his cinematographer, acclaimed Aussie camera-man Christopher Doyle, for the shoot. Zhang's publicist said he was unavailable for comment at press time.