Even though we’ll be seeing noted director Werner Herzog in front of the camera later this year as the villain in Jack Reacher, that doesn’t mean he’ll be staying away from behind the camera. Case in point: Herzog has just signed on to direct an adaptation of D.B.C. Pierre’s novel Vernon God Little, “a coming-of-age story set in Texas about a teenager caught up in the aftermath of a high-school shooting committed by his best friend.” That description may sound like heavy material, but the book is also described as a satirical look at violence, materialism, and American media. Andrew Birkin, whose credits include Perfume and Name of the Rose, has written the screenplay. Here’s a full plot description of the book:
When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff’s office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday’s underwear and his prized logo sneakers. Moments after the shooter, his best buddy, turns the gun on himself, Vernon is pinned as an accomplice. Out for revenge are the townspeople, the cable news networks, and Deputy Vaine Gurie, a woman whose zeal for the Pritikin diet is eclipsed only by her appetite for barbecued ribs from the Bar-B-Chew Barn. So Vernon does what any red-blooded American teenager would do; he takes off for Mexico.
This type of material could be difficult to handle for most directors, but I can see Herzog handling it well. He has a way of dealing with the absurd along with a unique worldview that comes through in his films. Most recently, he’s gone for more serious material like Into the Abyss, but he’s equally adept at more comedic material, so perhaps Vernon God Little will act as a satisfying combination. Is this the type of film you’re excited to see from Werner Herzog?