Homeland Damian Lewis

Briefly: For a couple years, Werner Herzog has been moving towards a new dramatic feature, Queen of the Desert, which will chronicle the story of pioneering anthropologist/explorer/political advisor Gertrude Bell. While Naomi Watts was once set to play Bell, the role will now be filled by Nicole Kidman. To play Bell’s paramour, Lt. Col. Charles Doughty-Wylie, Herzog has now recruited Damian Lewis, whose notable recent work is on the Showtime series Homeland.

Deadline reports that the film will shoot beginning in December of this year.

The character to be played by Lewis was a British war hero who, while married, engaged in an affair with Bell during the last years of his life. But it was a very chaste affair, conducted entirely via letter correspondence. How does that become a compelling screen story? There can be quite a lot of narration and longing looks aimed to a point off-screen, for starters. But this could also be a device to let the screen version of Bell voice observations and frustrations as she goes about her work building what became the the early political incarnation of the modern Middle East.

 

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Nicole Kidman

Longtime BFFs Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts have quite a bit in common. Both are fair-complected Australians who’ve gotten attention from Oscar in the past, and who hope to attract still more by playing princesses this fall. (Watts has Diana, Kidman has Grace of Monaco.) Naturally, then, when Werner Herzog needed a replacement for one, he turned to the other.

Kidman has entered talks to take over for Watts on Queen of the Desert, a fact-based epic about the “female Lawrence of Arabia” Gertrude Bell. Watts had been attached to the lead since 2011. Hit the jump for all the details.

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You may recall that Werner Herzog has been prepping a film called Queen of the Desert, in which Naomi Watts is set to play English writer, explorer, and archaeologist Gertrude Stein. Now Pattinson has been attached to play T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, in Herzog’s film. Lawrence was a colleague and friend to Bell, and casting Pattinson suggests that he’ll figure prominently in Herzog’s take on Bell’s history. Read More »

It’s like the space race all over again, only with a lot less tension, and sand instead of stars. Is there really enough interest in writer/political officer/archaeologist Gertrude Bell that development on parallel film projects is warranted? Not to diminish her accomplishments — she was quite a woman — but it seems strange nonetheless. And yet here we are, and better this than two more fairy tale movies. Werner Herzog is developing Queen of the Desert, possibly with Naomi Watts starring, and now Ridley Scott is getting to work on his own Gertrude Bell movie. Is this a Highlander situation? Can there be only one? Read More »

I would think that just about any actor would be quick to answer the call to work if the person on the was Werner Herzog. Looks like Naomi Watts is the latest to get the call, and the film Mr. Herzog reportedly has in mind is no small thing. It is called Queen of the Desert, and Naomi Watts would play Gertrude Bell in a film that could easily become a companion piece to Lawrence of Arabia. Read More »

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