News flash: if you ever find yourself at a cocktail party with Werner Herzog, don’t bother pressing him for the dirt on Hollywood’s closeted gay glitterati.
In the above clip, taken from little-known 2007 documentary On the Ecstasy of Ski-Flying: Werner Herzog in Conversation with Karen Beckman, the German auteur insists that he has absolutely no sense of irony and to illustrate his point, he reveals it took him 35 years to realize that fellow filmmaker John Waters has more than dabbled in the homosexual arts.
“For me, a man is a man. I cannot distinguish a gay man from a straight man,” Herzog explains. “I just cannot distinguish. Unless the man comes in drag and is so obviously gay, then I would notice.”
“After 35 years of knowing John Waters, I turn to my wife and I said to her, ‘I have the feeling this man is gay,’ which is in a way wonderful because I took him as John Waters. And I love the man, I love him dearly, he’s wonderful, he’s the boldest of the bold filmmakers. I wish I had the guts of this man, and he’s very, very dear to my heart — but for me this is a man. Yes, a man is a man.”
To be fair, the Pecker director isn’t exactly big on coming out, despite being described as “openly gay director John Waters” his entire career. (But come on, 35 years?) He explains why in the below interview: