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‘Loch’ lurks for helmer

Herzog's plate full with 3 projects in Hollywood

Two documentary crews will converge in the Scottish Highlands this month when German filmmaker Werner Herzog begins shooting his next feature, “The Enigma of Loch Ness.”

Herzog’s doc will examine the mystery of Nessie, the sea monster reported to inhabit the Scottish lake. Screenwriter Zak Penn (“Behind Enemy Lines”) has secured the financing and will produce “Enigma” through his shingle, Zak Penn’s Company.

Cinematographer and director John Bailey will also be on hand, shooting “Herzog in Wonderland,” a doc that’s already in production. Hans Zimmer and Jay Rifkin’s Media Ventures Pictures is financing Bailey’s film, with Robert Green and Rifkin producing.

Herzog is developing a feature for Media Ventures, “Little Dieter Needs to Fly.” Christian Bale is attached to star in the pic, based on Herzog’s 1997 doc of the same name.

Herzog, who is widely admired for dramatic features shot in the 1970s and ’80s like “Fitzcarraldo” and “Nosferatu,” has lately focused primarily on documentaries. His most recent fiction feature was “Invincible,” released by Fine Line last year.

Herzog now lives in Los Angeles; “Herzog in Wonderland” will examine the director’s relationship to Hollywood.

“There’s always an element of fiction in his documentary and an element of documentary in his fiction,” said Penn, who also contributed a draft to “Dieter.”

“He doesn’t care about what’s commercial,” Penn said of Herzog. “But I thought this could bring him to a larger audience.”

Penn has a screenwriting deal with Fox, but “Enigma” is being developed outside that deal.

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