The A.V. Club: What did you tell [Nicolas Cage] about how to play the character?Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is not a great movie, but it is amazing in its own way.
Werner Herzog: You see, with actors, normally I don’t like to have any conversation about background and about motivations and all this. I think on the first or second day of shooting, Nicolas, who is a very shy man, came to me and said “Werner, I know you hate these kind of Lee Strasberg Actors Studio questions about motivation, but what makes him so bad? Is it the drugs? Is it Katrina? Is it his injuries?” And I said, “Yeah, well, let’s not discuss that. But there’s such a thing as the bliss of evil. Let’s go straight for that. Enjoy yourself as much as you can, doing the worst thing, the most debased and vile things, but enjoy yourself, because the audience will somehow, I hope, be in a secret conspiracy with you that sometimes we love to be vile and debased.” It’s a secret joy, and that makes it so hilarious, I think.