With Robin on set

75 year old stunt woman (my mother) seen here on a wire 40 feet above the ground

1998, My Mother Judy doing stunt work in San Francisco whilst making “What Dreams May Come.” She was 75 years old, and was more concerned about comforting the nervous boy beside her than the peril of being on a wire 40 feet above ground herself.

Given her age and her relationship to me it’s understandable the stunt coordinator was anxious about her well being. But afterwards mum noted enthusiastically: “I haven’t had as much fun since the war.”
Perhaps it was the memory of the camaraderie of those around her during those distant years, their emerging liberation as women, or simply the buzz of surviving risk that reminded her so strongly of when she had served as a uniformed British soldier during the Second World War. Part of an all female regiment, they drove their three ton trucks through the Middle Eastern desert, back and forth from an ever changing front line.

With Werner (in heavy aged/dirt make up) on set

I asked the film director Werner Herzog whom I’d known for many years to be in my film ‘What Dreams May Come’. We had first planned to work together on ‘Map of the Human Heart’ but he was unable to act in this when suddenly our schedule changed. Now he would be one of the faces incarcerated amongst the sea of faces in Hell. I asked him to call out to Klaus Kinski in acknowledgement of his conflicting relationship with the deceased actor. Knowing something of their history, the otherworldliness became somehow haunting for all of us listening.

So now this man, this face, is calling out caught amongst a morass of bodies waiting for Klaus to pass by through the endless eons of time.


Werner in the sea of faces

Werner: “You’re..You’re Klaus! Welcome. Welcome, welcome!”
Chris: “You’re not my Dad”
Werner: “That’s alright, they…they never come, don’t worry it’s only a matter of time”

In order to continue Chris (Robin Williams) had to step on Werner, so he could keep crossing the sea of faces but Robin became increasingly worried about treading on Werner’s face and kept mentioning it to me and apologising to him.

Looking up at Robin from the ground where his face was embedded Werner said quietly (though emphatically): “Go on Robin tread on my face, yes tread on my face.” Robin echoed nervously, “But Werner I…?” ” Go on!” “I can’t.” “Yes you can, smash my glasses with your foot. Go on, tread on me, now. Break them.”

Directing scene with Annabella Sciorra

After the 1999 Academy Awards ceremony.
From left, Executive Producer Erica Huggins, Barnet Bain (Producer with Steve Simon) and Director Vincent Ward.