Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
I first read about David Lynch and Werner Herzog’s upcoming collaboration at the time of last year’s Cannes festival, before Herzog had even commenced filming on his upcoming Bad Lieutenant do-over. Back then, all that was known was the basic premise: a man believes himself in a Sophocles play and, accordingly, slaughters his mother with a sword. Scenes of the murder will be mixed into the plot line as flashbacks and we’ll get to know the killer very well indeed. I’m assuming the play is Electra, but I may be wrong.
It was also assumed then that Lynch would be the director; now it has been announced that Werner Herzog will be the man in charge. Indeed, Lynch’s role is a rather minor producing engagement. Further to this, we know who is lining up for roles and for the most part, it’s just the crew you might expect.
Michael Shannon, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Willem Defoe and Chloe Sevigny all have roles, Shannon presumably as the son and Zabriskie as the mother. Screen Daily carry the announcement – most of the names they name are newly associated to the project.
Shannon has been nominated for an Oscar this year for his supporting role in Revolutionary Road. There’s nothing really wrong with his performance but I can’t throw my weight behind the accolade. It isn’t his fault, but his role is so ill-conceived, mechanical and unresolved – he’s just a walking cliche there to “illuminate truths” and facilitate the plot, slightly (my quote marks crucial, because the part is neither illuminating, nor are these truths anything more than observations the audience is more than capable of making by themselves).
Shannon has made something of a speciality out of playing the mentally troubled/troubling, with Bug, Revolutionary Road and now this. His more “sane” roles have garnered far less attention, so maybe it’s less external typecasting than a short-term careerist move? Let’s see what he starts lining up in the future.
Shannon also apparently worked with Herzog on the recently-completed Bad Lieutenant film, though for some reason the imdb don’t seem to know this.
Filming on My Son is due to kick off in March, in the Coronado Island region of California though some filming is also due to take place in Peru.
Herzog attests to his interest by saying “I always wanted to make a horror film, but not with bloody axes and chain-saws. An anonymous fear should rather creep up at you.” I think Herzog has made at least two horror films in the past: his remake of Nosferatu, most obviously; Even Dwarves Started Small more controversially.
There’s nothing anonymous about the son, so I suppose this fear Herzog references is elsewhere contained in the film – in the creeping madness that overtakes him perhaps.
With My Son alongside Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Defoe sure has a nice little pair of off-mainstream horror films coming; and with the Spierig Brothers’ Daybreakers, a hopefully just as nice, in the mainstream one too.