Last modified on 26 November 2014, at 16:28

Klaus Kinski

Working with a great director is wonderful for an actor because it means that you're not forced to take the advice of an idiot.

Klaus Kinski (18 October 192623 November 1991) was a German actor, famous for his emotional outbursts and work with director Werner Herzog. He was the father of Nastassja Kinski.

QuotesEdit

People call me an "actor". What's that? In any case, it has nothing to do with the shit that people have always blabbered about it. It's neither a vocation nor a profession - although it's how I earn my living. But then so does the two-headed freak at the carnival. It's something you have to try and live with - until you learn how to free yourself. It has nothing to do with nonesense like "talent," and it's nothing to be conceited or proud of.
Sometimes, my heart hurts so much, I beat it with my fists. I try to run. But you cannot run away from this. You cannot run from it. Wherever you run, it waits for you. Even when you think you have escaped it, it is there, where you have run to. It waits for you, to ambush you.
Why do I continue making movies? Making movies is better than cleaning toilets.
  • Words. Words today block meanings. Words are losing their value these days. People don't communicate what they mean. If someone tells me "This coffee is genius," what does that mean? This is shit. If this coffee is genius, then what does "genius" mean anymore? I don't believe in words anymore. "Have a coke and a smile." I have a coke and it hurts my stomach. I become sick.
  • If I was doing a movie that was really bad, I always realized that I had to play my role as good as possible when the camera was on me. The fact that the movie was total shit did not bother me. For example, let's say that there's a hand that is used to playing the violin excellently. Let's say that hand belongs to the world's greatest violinist. But, the man finds himself out of work. Someone tells him "I don't have a job for a violinist but I do have a job for someone who is willing to carry out trash." The violinist takes the job. He has to do his new job well or else he won't get paid. He won't eat. Although his hand is forced to carry garbage, that doesn't diminish the skill of the hand.
    • Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • If I hadn't refused Ken Russell, Fellini and Spielberg and made their movies when they asked me, my life would be no different. It is not my fault that I accepted one movie and turned down another. I don't see any point in defending myself, either.
    • Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • There isn't one role I'd like to play. There are many and there are none. I've always admitted to being a prostitute. I sell myself for money. I don't have to see myelf up on the screen as Napoleon to feel satisfied about a movie. If you pay me a lot of money, I'll be in your film.
    • Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • … I would have been better than Adolf Hitler. I could have delivered his speeches a lot better... that's for certain.
    • Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • Working with a great director is wonderful for an actor because it means that you're not forced to take the advice of an idiot.
    • Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • The jungle is life itself. A thousand times more alive than anything you've ever seen. We didn't go there to be a part of it. We invaded it. We shaved the jungle and made a stinking camp in the middle of it. Radios blaring. It was disgusting.
    • On filming Fitzcarraldo. Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • He's a highly talented guy. He does very good movies and he's not the sort of person who always talks bullshit. He does many, many things right. But he's also sick. Obsessed. He wants to make history, not movies. Anyone who wants to make history is stupid.
    • On Werner Herzog. Kinski : The Master of Screen Depravity Speaks, Fangoria #28
  • Sometimes, my heart hurts so much, I beat it with my fists. I try to run. But you cannot run away from this. You cannot run from it. Wherever you run, it waits for you. Even when you think you have escaped it, it is there, where you have run to. It waits for you, to ambush you. It is like those vines called lianas, those tropical creepers that grow around you and strangle you. You cut off one branch, but there is another that grows. You leap over the wall of one ghetto and find yourself in another ghetto.
    • Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing"
  • I never said money is freedom! I said money buys freedom. BUYS! What does that mean, money is freedom? This is ridiculous: Money is freedom. It means nothing. What do you think, that a dollar in a savings account is freedom? Maybe you have understood nothing I have said. You are trying to make me sound like an American average citizen.
    • Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing"
  • ASSHOLES! Do you ask a car crash for another take? Do you ask a volcano for another take? Do you ask the storm for another take?
    • On directors asking him for another take. Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing"
  • At first, I felt this thing coming up in myself, just really physically growing in myself and happening, but it was a jungle, so I couldn't distinguish things so much. I knew there were, in myself, the souls of millions of people who lived centuries ago - not just people but animals, plants, the elements, things, even, matter - that all of these exist in me, and I felt this. OK, this pushed and pushed and pushed. OK, that was the beginning... And through the years it became clearer and clearer, this thing; it started to separate itself. I could make it come when I had to concentrate on, let's say, a person I had to become - this thing became stronger. And took more of me. In this moment, I let it do it, because I wanted, I had to be this person. And as I was led to doing it, there was then no way back. And the more I tried to do it, the more I hated it. But there was no way back anymore; it was always going farther and farther and farther. Until one day, when I was walking through the streets of Paris, I started crying, because I could look at a man, a woman, a dog, anything, and receive it, anything, everything; there was no difference between physical and psychological. I felt like I was breaking out, breaking up, receiving everything, every moment, even things I did not see. There is no turning back from this. But this danger is the power you have. It is this same power that lets you hold an audience when you are on a stage. Then it is a concentration, the same concentration that in kung fu is used for the kick that kills or to break a table with your hand. It means that you are sure of the power and that you relinquish yourself to it
    • Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing"
  • Why do I continue making movies? Making movies is better than cleaning toilets.
    • Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing"
  • I didn't choose to be alone. But I cannot explain this. I could be with a woman in a bed, for weeks even and it would seem to me like three seconds. Or 300 years. There is no time sense because of things that are going on in you. I don't know, there is no explanation of this. But every time, even with someone I.... But whenever I was with a woman, I always sort of want another one. So there was always another one. I can't explain this, but it means that these women, they were not sharing my solitude. I wanted to stay with somebody, but I couldn't, it wasn't possible, because of this thing moving in myself. I had to learn this. I didn't want to be alone, but I had to learn that the dimensions of my feelings are too violent. I had to learn this.
    • Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing"
  • I don't try to justify myself or defend myself. I've always done what I had to. She should know for herself that I love her, that I've loved her always, always. Those years you can't replace by words, though. After years and years, words get weaker and weaker.
    • On his daughter, Nastassja, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • I saw Stay as You Are and Tess only. I didn't ask her if she saw every movie I did. I could never think about that. Why do I have to see every movie she did? Why? Sometimes she did movies with people I was bored by. I don't care about this or that director. So if she is so beautiful in a movie, it is because of her, not a director. So why should I see the movie then? As long as I am not blind, I don't need a dog to see. If I am blind, maybe I would like the dog to lead me. I am not blind. I don't have to see her movies. I know my child.
    • On his daughter, Nastassja, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • I have made many things wrong in my life. I should have made many things better in my life, not only to Nastassja but many things. If someone said to me, 'You did everything wrong in your life,' I would say, 'Okay, maybe you're right.' But my way is the only way I can exist. I can feel and express things to understand how true somethings is. People in my life have tried to change me, and I have blown up even more violently and I said, 'What, do you really want to distort me?' What's left, you have to do it your way. I don't need a Bible to tell me I'm doing wrong a hundred million times in my life. Everything I did wrong in my life I am suffering a long time. It's coming back and back and back and back to me for years. I am not ashamed to tell myself what I am doing wrong, but there must always be a way to understand that's all I can do. What I want to say is I tried, okay, I tried, and I'm not breaking my head that it's not happened. It's like a growing plant. This tiny things is coming out, you can feel it coming out, it's breaking through, so it may be one day that she will understand many more things than she understands today. Nobody can come to me and say, 'Why haven't you seen this and why and why.' I know what I have to do.
    • As quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • Werner, nobody will read this book if I don't write bad stuff about you. If I wrote that we get along well together, nobody would buy it. The scum only wants to hear about the dirt, all the time.
  • I don't care about that scum! Why should I receive a prize? I know that I'm a genius!

Jesus Christus Erlöser (1971)Edit

I am the disobedient one, the restless one who does not live in any house. Nor am I a guarantee for success, savings accounts and possessions. I am the homeless one without a permanent home who stirs up trouble wherever he goes.
  • I've come here to tell the most exciting story in the history of mankind: the life of Jesus Christ. I'm not talking about the Jesus in those horribly gaudy pictures. Not the Jesus with the jaundice-yellow skin - whom crazy human society has turned into the biggest whore of all time. Whose corpse they perversely drag around on disgraceful crosses. I don't mean the jabbering about God or the blubbering hymns. I don't mean the Jesus whose moldy kiss frightens little girls out of horny dreams before their First Communion and then make them die of shame and disgust when they foam in the latrines. I'm talking about the man: the restless man who says we have to turn over a new leaf all the time, now! I'm talking about the adventurer, the freest, most fearless, most modern of all men, the one who preferred being massacred to rotting with others. I'm talking about the man who is like what all of us want to be. You and I.
  • I am not the official Church Jesus who is accepted by policemen, bankers, judges, executioners, officers, church bosses, politicians and similar representatives of power. I am not your Superstar who keeps playing his part for you on the cross, and whom you hit in the face when he steps out of his role, and who therefore cannot call out to you, "I am fed up with all your pomp and all your rituals! Your incense is disgusting. It stinks of burnt human flesh. I can't bear your holy celebrations and holidays any longer. You can pray as much as you like, I'm not listening. Keep all your idiotic honours and laudations. I won't have anything to do with them. I do not want them. I am no pillar of peace and security. Security that you achieve with tear gas and with billy clubs. I am no guarantee for obedience and order either. Order and obedience at reform schools, prisons, penal institutions, insane asylums. I am the disobedient one, the restless one who does not live in any house. Nor am I a guarantee for success, savings accounts and possessions. I am the homeless one without a permanent home who stirs up trouble wherever he goes. I am the agitator, the invoker, I am the scream. I am the hippie, bum, Black Power, Jesus people. I want to free the prisoners. I want to make the blind see. I want to redeem the tortured. I want to cast love into your hearts, the love that reaches out beyond everything that exists. I want to turn you into living human beings, immortals.

Kinski Uncut : The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski (1996)Edit

What they teach in these acting schools is incredible, hair-raising crap... How can you "teach" someone to be an actor? How can you teach someone how and what to feel and how to express it?
Herzog is a miserable, hateful, malevolent, avaricious, money-hungry, nasty, sadistic, treacherous, cowardly creep. His so-called "talent" consists of nothing but tormenting helpless creatures and, if necessary, torturing them to death or simply murdering them.
There's so much gossip about my getting (yet another) prize. It's like the cattle market, where the bulls get prizes for their dicks and the cows for their udders.
... as much as I'd like to do a movie with Spielberg, the script is as moronically shitty as so many other flicks of this ilk.
No outsider can imagine the stupidity, blustering hysteria, authoritarianism, and paralyzing boredom of shooting a flick for Billy Wilder.
My son is my life. I believe in the magic of this love. He is the embodiment of life to me. The embodiment of beauty. Through him I'll find redemption and salvation.
  • Yeah, I've got violence in me, but no negative violence. My violence is the violence of the free man who refuses to knuckle under. Creation is violent. Life is violent. Birth is a violent process. Tempests and earthquakes are violent movements of nature. My violence is the violence of life. It is not violence against nature, like the violence of the state, which sends your kids to the slaughterhouse, deadens your minds, and drives out your souls!
    • p. 2
  • Just why are we so poor? Why can I never sleep at night? Because bombs keep dropping! Why does my mother have to torture herself like that? Why didn't anyone give my dad a break? Why is there a war? Why? Why? Why?
    • On his childhood. p. 40
  • At sixteen I get drafted. When I read the draft notice, I cry. Not because I'm a coward - I'm not afraid of anyone. But I don't want to kill or be killed.
    • p. 42
  • What they teach in these acting schools is incredible, hair-raising crap. The Actors Studio in America is supposed to be the worst. There the students learn how to be natural - that is, they flop around, pick their noses, scratch their balls. This bullshit is known as "method acting." How can you "teach" someone to be an actor? How can you teach someone how and what to feel and how to express it? How can someone teach me how to laugh or cry? How to be glad and how to be sad? What pain is, or despair or happiness? What poverty and hunger are? What hate and love are? What desire is, and fulfillment? No, I don't want to waste my time with these arrogant morons.
    • p. 59
  • At a performance everything works out on its own. I've solved the mystery: You have to submit silently. Open up, let go. Let anything penetrate you, even the most painful things. Endure. Bear up. That's the magic key! The text comes by itself, and its meaning shakes the soul. Everything else is taken care of by the life one has to live without sparing oneself. You mustn't let scar tissue form on your wounds; you have to keep ripping them open in order to turn your insides into a marvelous instrument that is capable of anything. All this has its price. I become so sensitive that I can't live under normal conditions. That's why the hours between performances are worst.
    • p. 72-73
  • The flamenco of the Gypsy has nothing to do with the flamenco for tourists. Real flamenco is like sex.
    • p. 179
  • Not only is she obsessed with fur, she also collects clothes, houses, land, islands, and, above all, diamonds. Lots of diamonds. Big ones. The biggest are the size of pigeon eggs, and she's already wearing them for breakfast. I feel sorry for her. She'd give it all up just to be a couple of years younger.
  • Westerns. One after another. They get shittier and shittier, and the so-called directors get lousier and lousier. And the more incompetent they are, the more hostile they act.
    • p. 210
  • His speech is clumsy, with a toadlike indolence, long winded, pedantic, choppy. The words tumble from his mouth in sentence fragments, which he holds back as much as possible, as if they were earning interest. It takes forever and a day for him to push out a clump of hardened brain snot. Then he writhes in painful ecstasy, as if he had sugar on his rotten teeth. A very slow blab machine. An obsolete model with a non-working switch — it can't be turned off unless you cut off the electric power altogether. So I'd have to smash him in the kisser. No, I'd have to knock him unconscious. But even if he were unconscious he'd keep talking. Even if his vocal cords were sliced through, he'd keep talking like a ventriloquist. Even if his throat were cut and his head were chopped off, speech balloons would still dangle from his mouth like gases emitted by internal decay.
  • He should be thrown alive to the crocodiles! An anaconda should strangle him slowly! A poisonous spider should sting him and paralyze his lungs! The most venomous serpent should bite him and make his brain explode! No — panther claws should rip open his throat — that would be much too good for him! Huge red ants should piss into his lying eyes and gobble up his balls and his guts! He should catch the plague! Syphilis! Yellow fever! Leprosy! It's no use; the more I wish him the most gruesome deaths, the more he haunts me.
  • Herzog is a miserable, hateful, malevolent, avaricious, money-hungry, nasty, sadistic, treacherous, cowardly creep. His so-called "talent" consists of nothing but tormenting helpless creatures and, if necessary, torturing them to death or simply murdering them. He doesn't care about anyone or anything except his career as a so-called filmmaker. Driven by a pathological addiction to sensationalism, he creates the most sensless difficulties and dangers, risking other people's safety and even their lives — just so he can eventually say that he, Herzog, has beaten seemingly unbeatable odds. For his movies he hires retards and amateurs whom he can push around (and alledgedly hypnotize!), and he pays them starvation wages or zilch. He also uses freaks and cripples of every conceivable size and shape, merely to look interesting. He doesn't have the foggiest inkling of how to make movies. He doesn't even try to direct the actors anymore. Long ago, when I ordered him to keep his trap shut, he gave up asking me whether I'm willing to carry out his stupid and boring ideas.
    • p. 222
  • The truth is that I wasn't there with her when she needed me. Now she see's how I love Nanhoï and she believes that I can't love her as much as I love my son. That I've never loved her like this. I try to tell her that she's distorting everything in her pain and not seeing the truth. That I've painfully missed her since our separation and that I've never stopped loving her. But even though she gradually calms down, I have a feeling she doesn't believe me.
  • The German government writes me that it has awarded me the supreme distinction for an actor: the Gold Film Ribbon. What gall! Who gave those shitheads the right to award me anything? Did it never occur to them that there might be somebody who doesn't want their shit? What filthy arrogance to award me - me, of all people! - a prize! What does this prize mean, anyway? Is it a reward? For what? For my pains, sufferings, despair, tears? A prize for every hell, every dying, every resurrection? Prizes for death and life? Prizes for passion, for hate and love? And how did you shitheads intend to hand me the prize? As a gift? As a favour, like those tasteless hosts that the pope distributes like fast food? I'll kick you! Or do I come submissive, whimpering? I'll kick you again! And there's not even a check. It's outrageous!
    • p. 286
  • And then the hysteria over these crummy prizes! And it's only a gang of twelve lousy jurors who actually imagine they're sitting in judgement (their supreme wish!). If they had their druthers, they'd be weighing the life and death of a human being. There's so much gossip about my getting (yet another) prize. It's like the cattle market, where the bulls get prizes for their dicks and the cows for their udders.
    • On the Cannes Film Festival. p. 288
  • The street kid in me says, "Grab the money and run - who cares who it's from! Don't think about whatever you have to do for it or when you have to do it!"
    • p. 289
  • The shooting is one long battle against the aggressive obstinacy of the "directress" bitch and her clod of a cameraman - and the two of them stick solidly together in their obduracy.
  • No outsider can imagine the stupidity, blustering hysteria, authoritarianism, and paralyzing boredom of shooting a flick for Billy Wilder. The so-called "actors" are simply trained poodles who sit up on their hind legs and jump through hoops. I thought the insanity would never stop. But I got a shitload of money.
  • I want to be free, independent. Free of all coercion. Free of any need to rely on other people. I have no credit cards, nor do I want any. I toss the cash on the table. I leave others in peace and I want to be left in peace. I spend my nights sleeping on the ground in the forest. I embrace trees as I have done all my life. I smell their bark and kiss it. I lay my face on the moss and breathe in the spicy aroma of fruitfulness as if I were lying on a woman's belly.
    • p. 305
  • People call me an "actor". What's that? In any case, it has nothing to do with the shit that people have always blabbered about it. It's neither a vocation nor a profession - although it's how I earn my living. But then so does the two-headed freak at the carnival. It's something you have to try and live with - until you learn how to free yourself. It has nothing to do with nonsense like "talent," and it's nothing to be conceited or proud of.
    • p. 310
  • How can anyone believe that you can "learn" how to feel and learn how to express it? How can anyone teach another person how to laugh and how to cry? How to be cheerful and how to be sad? Teach them what pain is, and despair, and desire, and passion? Hate and love? How can anyone waste their own and somebody else's time with that idiocy? But far worse than the morons who think they can learn these things are the people who claim they can teach them. In the end, they teach bad manners. If one of their trained poodles sits down in public, he doesn't sit, he slouches - which is supposed to mean that his behavior is "natural." He or she scratches his or her head then picks his or her nose, which is supposed to mean that he or she has no complexes and acts very spontaneously. So this is what New York talk shows look like.
  • I find the totality of metamorphosis most terrifying when I'm Woyzeck... Suffering through that had as devastating an impact on me as if I hadn't only always suffered as Woyzeck but continue to do so over and over. Malaria of the soul, recurring again and again. My total being is one large breeding ground for the shocks of the world past, present and future. All living and dying, all vibrations pass through me. The entire universe pours into me, rages in me, rampages through and over me. Annihilates me. It comes and goes whenever it likes. It rules me, commands me, envelops me, threatens me, and waits for me everywhere and all the time. It sucks me up, sucks me dry, grows through me. It's in my spinal marrow. In my brain mass. In my blood, in my bones. My muscles. Guts. Genitals. Sperm. Flesh. Eyes. Hearing. Taste. Smell. Balance. Laughter. Tears. In my days and nights. In my thoughts. In my feelings. In my courage and my fear. In my despair and my hope. In my weakness and my strength. Everywhere and all the time.
    • On his performance in Woyzeck. p. 315
  • I don't know how this will end. All I know is Nanhoï's love. My son is my life. I believe in the magic of this love. He is the embodiment of life to me. The embodiment of beauty. Through him I'll find redemption and salvation. Then the wound in my soul - the wound I thought would never scar over - will stop bleeding. I thought I would have to tear it open once it began to heal. Back then, when I felt I couldn't stop being what is called an actor, when I told myself I was only doing it for the money and that it could be worse. Now, today, I'd rather be poor, but without nightmares and without the torture. If only I could! I wish I'd never been an actor! I wish I'd never had success! I'd rather have been a streetwalker, selling my body, than selling my tears and my laughter, my grief and joy.
    • p. 316

Quotes about KinskiEdit

Your face is that of a child, but your expression is hard at the same time... I have never seen such a face. ~ Jean Cocteau
We liked each other, we hated each other and we respected each other, even though we hatched serious plots to murder each other. ~ Werner Herzog
Because of him, I never knew anything other than passion. When I began to meet other people I saw that it wasn’t normal. ~ Nastassja Kinski
  • Your face is that of a child, but your expression is hard at the same time. It changes from one to the other in an instant. I have never seen such a face.
  • He was a classy actor. He was a little odd. He did not like people to touch him. He did not like people to get too close to him, like wardrobe people, people like that. He thought that they were getting into his aura, so to speak.
    • Richard Herd, as quoted in Louis Paul (2007) Tales from the Cult Film Trenches, p. 107
  • Kinski's fits can be partly explained by his egocentric character. Egocentric is perhaps not the right word; he was an outright egomaniac. Whenever there was a serious accident, it became a big problem because, all of a sudden, he was no longer the centre of attention. He was no longer important.
  • Here is this man, Kinski, and you have to put him on the screen. You have to take all his rage, all his intensity, all his demonic qualities, and make them productive for the screen. That was the task and there was no time for learning. I had to master the situation from day one, from the first day of shooting Aguirre. On set you have no choice. I had to be strong enough to shape him and force him to the utmost, beyond the limits of what is normally required for the shooting of a film. But he would push me equally-to the limit. It was not permissible to take even a little step back from his level of intensity and professionalism. And, of course, he literally would have been ready to die with me, if I had died on the ship in the rapids. He would have sunk in the ship with me, and vice versa. But I cannot deny that there were moments, which were dangerous, when we could have killed each other.
  • Kinski was not an actor - I wouldn't call him an artist either, nor am I. Of course, he mastered the techniques of being an actor, the technique of speech, of understanding the presence of light and of the camera, the choreography of camera and of bodily movements... But at the core of Klaus Kinski was not his existence as an actor - he was something beyond that and apart from it.
  • People like Brando are just kindergarten compared to Kinski. He is totally mad and unpredictable. You can see something raging in this man. We liked each other, we hated each other and we respected each other, even though we hatched serious plots to murder each other.
  • The funny thing about Klaus Kinski is that for all the bravado he’s just a scared little man. All you have to do is stand up to him. Herzog knew and I knew that, too. He wasn’t a bad person, he’s just so self-centered. Everything was his way or the highway.
  • He was one of the few German actors I really admired because he did his own thing - he didn't adapt, he didn't conform in any way, and he had this strong way of playing his roles.
    • Udo Kier, as quoted in Jack Stevenson (2000) Fleshpot: Cinema's Sexual Myth Makers and Taboo Breakers, p. 162
  • I have never met a man like my father. He is so mad, terrible and vehement at the same time. Because of him, I never knew anything other than passion. When I began to meet other people I saw that it wasn’t normal.
  • My father loved us so much, but he's the kind of person that chokes you. He doesn't leave you your own pleasures. If you think or feel one way and he feels the other way, he won't accept it. My mother wanted to work. People wanted her to do movies, but he just wanted her to be at home, be a mother, be a wife, be this Venus, this planet he could land on anytime.
    • Nastassja Kinski, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • My father is so expressive that things he feels even before they are thoughts are visible on his skin. He heats up. What other people work on, he was born with. He's got eyes like the sky and like hell at the same time. They're so clear and blue and alert and serious, and then they're like hell. That's how he is. He is total light and pureness and then hell. He gives totally or he gives nothing. He is like the sun, then an iceberg, then nonexistent, and then the sun again. Which is fine. It's a lot better than most people are.
    • Nastassja Kinski, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • When he died I had a moment of grief that lasted about five minutes. It was very intense, then never again. Not because I forced myself, but I think it was because he caused us too much pain.
  • I can't hear it anymore: 'Your father! Great! A genius! I always liked him.' The idolization has only gotten worse since his death.
  • The terrible thing is that he once told me that it was completely natural, that fathers all over the world did that with their daughters. He was paying for me to be his little sex object, placed on silk cushions.
  • He’s putting his hand up my skirt. The night before he kept coming to my room, he came to my door, he came to my window, he tried to get in. One time he saw me, he stood up and said he was Nosferatu...anything to get me to open the window.
    • Joyce Lew, during the filming of Revenge of the Stolen Stars, as quoted in "Klaus Encounters: An Interview with Barry Hickey", Exploitation Retrospect
  • The film was appropriately called Venom and Klaus seemed determined to live up to its name... From what I was able to glean, the only excuse for his domestic outbursts sprang from his daughter, Nastassja Kinski, being on a roll. After Polanski's Tess, she became the new darling of Hollywood, courted, caressed and cast wherever she went. I believe Klaus was actually envious of his own offsping.
    • Sarah Miles, as quoted in Cliff Goodwin (2011), Evil Spirits: The Life of Oliver Reed, p. 202
  • Because I'm no bloody fool.
    • Oliver Reed's answer to Sarah Miles' asking him why he wouldn't "sort [Kinski] out" during the filming of Venom, as quoted in Cliff Goodwin (2011), Evil Spirits: The Life of Oliver Reed, p. 203
  • Mr. Kinski had died, and they quoted me in his obituary, confirming that he had a reputation as being difficult with directors. First I felt awful. You die and your obituary should list your accomplishments, and here I was trashing the man. And then I remembered what a mean bastard he'd been to me. This was just karma biting him in the ass. This was my revenge. But you know what I really wish? I wish his obituary had quoted me saying what a compelling actor he was, how great he was to watch. He really was great to watch.
  • Klaus and I lived actually in a place from Kafka. Every night and every day I was on stage in our home. He created a play and I had to react. It was sometimes terrible. It was a hell and heaven. I was convinced one hundred percent he was the the devil. It was Richard III ten times or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He was extremely jealous. No one ever had the right to put the name of me or Nastassia in their mouths. He wanted me to have a child every year. It was impossible. He was so possessive, he was jealous when I gave Nastassia milk from my breast. It was as if he had built a religion around us, the Madonna and child.
    • Ruth Brigitte Tocki, as quoted in Denise Worrell (1989), Icons: Intimate Portraits.
  • He’d fuck you on a pile of corpses but he’d never shake your hand, because of the germs. If ego is what makes men miserable, then he was surely one of the most miserable men of all time.
    • Cintra Wilson, "Devoured by Demons", Salon, April 22, 2004
  • [Kinski and Herzog] were both ridiculous, flaming egomaniacs of only slightly different stripes — Kinski’s ugliness was flailing, external; a flash fire that burned itself, and himself, out. Herzog’s rage was of the passive-aggressive, festering sort, and therefore more dangerous... Herzog was an inverted sociopath; Kinski threw loud vocal fits, repressing nothing. Who was more sick? Werner Herzog was the visual version of Kinski’s extremity. Kinski exploited hearts; Herzog exploited landscapes and native peoples.
    • Cintra Wilson, "Devoured by Demons", Salon, April 22, 2004

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