It is no secret that I have a strange fascination with Klaus Kinski, he was a man like no other. Troubled and haunted, the man was known for being difficult to deal with, and his antics are very well documented. Did anyone truly know him? I like to think of him as an enigma, a strange being that comes along every so often.
Most are likely more familiar with his works with director Werner Herzog, who did document all of this in his documentary MY BEST FIEND. Still that answers little about Klaus, and I have been saying all year that he would be the perfect subject for a biopic. An epic biopic, that would have to focus more so on one space of time but still give us bits of him growing up and perhaps delve into aspects that aren’t talked about much. Love him or hate him, he’s someone who has always been strangely fascinating.
It would be a serious piece, unless you want to make a sitcom called Werner and Klaus … ok bad jokes aside, I am not sure who I’d pick to direct it, Werner may not be the best choice, even though I think he’d do a great job. But I do picture someone along the lines of E. Elias Merhige, really based on his film SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE.
This would lead to the next aspect of the biopic, the casting. Just who would play Klaus Kinski? It would not be an easy role, in fact this would be a role that would test ones own sanity. Here are my picks for who should play him, if this biopic was to ever get made.
A lot of the time Nic Cage plays crazy, his is a special kind of crazy. Not the same crazy as Mr. Kinski but I do believe Cage does have the chops to pull it off. Taking on this role would be quite different to anything he has ever done, a challenge that the man could certainly take on. He does have it in him, and it would be his ability as a performer and an actor that would draw the audience in and make them believe he is Klaus. Looks wise he’s quite different, but if there’s people out there who could make Martin Landau look like Bela Lugosi anything is possible.
There isn’t much Michael Shannon can’t do, he’s a very talented and versatile actor. He can go from normal to crazy in a split second, and by golly do you believe it! I could easily see him taking on the role of Klaus, he would most certainly be up to the challenge and I do believe he could tap into his mind and become the role. Heck, Shannon is such a great talent he could play Klaus and Werner in the same film! Although I wouldn’t see that as being possible, he’s definitely a very strong candidate.
Here is an actor that is known for his very off beat roles, and in real life he does seem very off beat too. He’s a wonderful performer, capable of playing all types of characters, someone who doesn’t need a lot of dialogue to make something work. I have picked him for all these reasons, he can do this kind of role, he can tap into those dark areas and shine on through with a strong performance. It might be a little bit unconventional but nothing about a potential Klaus Kinski biopic would be.
This man certainly has the face for this role, but he also has the acting chops too. Dafoe is one of the bravest actors working today, one need just look at ANTICHRIST to know that. He isn’t afraid to tackle difficult and challenging roles, he’s made a career out of doing that. Nothing is too much of a challenge for him, and I could see him taking this role head on and becoming the enigma. His chameleon qualities will come in handy here, he would certainly force the audience to see the character he’s playing. No matter how disturbing or how difficult this potential film would be, Dafoe would jump right in and not look back.