Alex Shephard interviews Werner Herzog on why he's making a 3D movie, why Roger Ebert should be "weighed in gold," and on the advantages of "extreme" characters or situations:
I think when you are looking at a city from its outskirts on a hill you probably understand the pattern of the city much better than being right inside. And I think looking at a human being from a far-out position gives you more insight; you will have more insight into the human condition. Let me make a metaphor: If you want to test an alloy of metal you would find out about its structure by placing it under extreme heat, under extreme pressure, under extreme radiation then you will understand the very nature of this metal alloy.
(Hat Tip: 3QD)