Belfast Telegraph

Werner on 'saving Joaquin's life'

Werner Herzog has played down claims he saved Joaquin Phoenix's life.

The modest German director helped the actor escape from an overturned car near his home in Los Angles in 2006, and while promoting his new film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, was asked via Twitter by fellow director David Lynch to tell the story of how he saved someone's life.

Werner revealed: "A car in front of me went out of control. It shot up an almost vertical embankment and came somersaulting down, halfway on top of another car.

"I was the first one on the scene and the car had landed on its roof and was partially crushed and I immediately tried to assess how many people are in there, and I saw only one person, upside down, deployed airbags and I recognised it was Joaquin Phoenix. And it was clear I couldn't get him out from the window and the moment I diverted my attention from him he had picked up somehow a cigarette and tried to light the cigarette.

"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'.

"Because what I noticed and he was not really aware was that gasoline was tripping throughout the car. So I confiscated the cigarette lighter, and then I crushed the rear window and got him out.

"And by that time there were already other people around and they had cellphones and called 911.

"And Joaquin apparently wanted to thank me and I didn't want to make a big fuss and jumped into my car and drove off.

"But it's not that I saved anyone's life."


From Belfast Telegraph