Filmmaker Werner Herzog pops up in some unexpected places, including the recently launched first “Star Wars” live-action series “The Mandalorian”. When Herzog was cast in the project, it raised both eyebrows and excitement levels and his first appearance in the premiere has so far elicited a unanimously positive response.
Herzog is also famous for speaking his mind and having eclectic taste – he has never seen a “Star Wars” film, but has tuned into “WrestleMania”. He likes to read more than watch films and when he does he’s much more likely to pop on a Criterion title than a Marvel film.
So, during a recent Q&A, Herzog found himself inadvertently entering the cinema vs. TV debate when he discussed his experience working on the movie:
“I enjoyed every single moment of it. It’s beyond what we are seeing on the screen. It’s cinema back at its best. On the big fantasy films, actors were acting almost like robots in front of green screens, you didn’t see the world that you were inhabiting. Here the actors see the entire universe in which they are operating and the camera does the same.”
Funnily enough, in the wake of the premiere there was discussion online about whether “The Mandalorian” could be seen as cinema thanks to its high production values and single narrative and serialised structure. Herzog’s reference to it as cinema though seems more about the way it was shot.
The series famously films many of its scenes in ‘The Volume’, a large sound stage surrounded by LED screens on all sides and with very specific and detailed level of control of the environment. The result is little need for digital mattes or set extensions as the LEDs supply the backgrounds (generated from a gaming engine) and all that’s needed are foreground elements and the actors.