Director Werner Herzog marks another film with his vision and beauty in the drama Salt and Fire. The film stars Michael Shannon, Gael Garcia Bernal and Veronica Ferres.
Salt and Fire is about a mysterious hostage-taking situation where a leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of the salt flats wasteland.
LRM had an exclusive interview late last month with actress Vernoica Ferres. She discussed the lure and vision of Werner Herzog and the unpredictability and improvisation on acting with the two blind boys.
Salt and Fire is in limited theater release and available on VOD and iTunes today.
Read the full interview below.
LRM: What attracted you to this movie?
Veronica Ferres: It’s Werner Herzog. I saw one of his films when I was a student at the university for psychology and literature. It had a sudden impact with me. I never seen a movie that was more colorful. He is an icon. When he asked me to play a part, I was so excited and happy. I was the next leading lady for him after Nicole Kidman for his next feature film. I felt very, very, very honored.
LRM: What in particular with Werner Herzog that you found so fascinating and what did you see in him as you worked on this project?
Veronica Ferres: It was an amazing experience. It was shooting in South America’s Bolivia in the cold desert of 15,000 square feet altitude. It was incredible. There was a physical challenge, but also an emotional challenge as well. It was pretty intense.
He knows on what he is looking for. As an actor, it’s great to have the director knows on what he wants. He has a very specific vision of the character. He is very, very strong. He’s a volcano to work with. To be an instrument of his vision is a very big challenge. I felt very loved and supportive.
It’s not that he wasn’t allowed to come to me on set. One time, he said, “The moment you wake up, I want you in front of the camera. I want you to look in just the way you wake up.” I just put on the costume and he took me by the hand and took me into the desert. Then he said, “Let’s rehearse.”
There is the pressure that he doesn’t shoot a lot of takes. As long as the camera was rolling, you have to be incredibly be focused.
LRM: Tell me about your character in this movie. There’s a lot of dialogue. There’s some humor. And some emotional situations. Tell me on how you developed this character and to balance everything out.
Veronica Ferres: For my character, she is a scientist and a professor. She is leading a delegation to South America to conduct a research on an ecological disaster. She was then kidnapped by a mysterious man played by Michael Shannon. Everything then changes in her life. It is all very strange to her. When she finally is with the two blind boys in the desert, she was left there after the kidnapping and doesn’t know if they’re going to die out there. She had to deal with this threat, but not to make the boys feel dreaded from this…