Werner Herzog Cast as Villain in Tom Cruise's 'One Shot'

11:49 AM PST 10/04/2011 by Daniel Miller
Michael Gottschalk/AFP/Getty Images
Werner Herzog

The director joins a cast that also includes Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo and Richard Jenkins.

In a rare move, director Werner Herzog will step from behind the camera to play the villain in One Shot, the Paramount-Skydance Productions drama that stars Tom Cruise.

The project, an adaptation of a 2005 Lee Child novel, centers on Jack Reacher (Cruise), an ex-Army cop who gets sucked into the mystery surrounding the arrest of a sniper accused of killing five people in a shooting. 

Herzog will play The Zec, a character described as an "ageless and shadowy figure," according to sources. It is the German director's first major onscreen role.

Christopher McQuarrie will direct from a script he wrote.

One Shot, which features a cast that includes Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo and Richard Jenkins, is set to begin filming in Pittsburgh this month.

Herzog, helmer of such films as Grizzly Man and Rescue Dawn, has been seen and heard in films occasionally over the years; he appeared in the 2007 poker film, The Grand, and narrated documentaries Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, among others.

He isn't the first notable director to play an onscreen villain. Both Roman Polanksi and John Huston appeared as baddies in Chinatown (1974), with Polanski playing a knife-wielding henchman and Huston embodying evil as the corrupt Noah Cross. Martin Scorsese cast himself as a murderous cuckold in a Taxi Driver (1976) cameo. Also, David Cronenberg played a villain in Nightbreed (1990), and Quentin Tarantino doubled as criminal and vampire in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).

Herzog is represented by Gersh.

Email: Daniel.Miller@THR.com
Twitter: @DanielNMiller

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