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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Posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by Angie Han
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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I’ll listen to Werner Herzog read any script — even the lightly written villain role in Jack Reacher — and so the appearance of a new Herzog documentary is a thing of many pleasures. First, there’s his extraordinary ability to capture documentary subjects. Then there’s his tendency towards the pursuit of “ecstatic truth,” which is Herzog’s term for a depiction of reality that isn’t true, strictly speaking, but uses the false to probe towards an inaccessible truth.
And then there’s Herzog’s scripting and narrating, the combo of which always sets his efforts apart from other documentaries. I don’t know how much of Herzog we’ll hear in Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, as this trailer is mostly comprised of images, free of any decorative narration. But those images look incredible, and this film (co-directed with Dmitry Vasyukov) could be a perfect companion to Encounters at the End of the World.
See the trailer below. Read More »
Here are two TV spots for the Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher, in which Cruise plays the ex-MP wanderer of the film’s title. Created by author Lee Child, Jack Reacher is a character who lives in more than a dozen novels full of violence and danger. And while the trailers for the film, and these spots, demonstrate that the violence is indeed a part of the big-screen incarnation, they also suggest that it is a bit less dangerous.
But at least director Werner Herzog plays the bad guy, and the first of two spots below will give you just a bit of a taste of his approach, in case you missed him in the last theatrical trailer. Read More »
Can Robert Pattinson fill the shoes of Peter O’Toole? More important, can he match the defining Lawrence of Arabia when it comes to humanity and gravitas?
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 »
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Below is a new look at Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, the title character of Christopher McQuarrie‘s upcoming Paramount film. It’s an old trick to say that Cruise just looks like Cruise here, because of course he does — that’s the whole point of hiring someone at his level of fame, especially to anchor an action thriller.
The film Jack Reacher adapts Lee Child‘s novel One Shot, in which the presence of itinerant former military policeman Jack Reacher is requested by a man accused of killing several people at random with a sniper rifle. The weird thing is: Reacher once arrested the same guy, a former serviceman, for another crime, and so he can’t figure out why the guy now seems to want his help. The film also features a supporting cast with some attention-getting names: Werner Herzog as the villain, and Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and Michael Raymond-James (so good in Terriers) in other roles.
Check out the first real image of Cruise as Reacher below. Read More »
As has been the case since 2009, each Earth Day brings with it another tremendous, next-level nature documentary from the folks at Disneynature. The latest one, Chimpanzee, is absolutely tremendous. And while bearing the mark of Disney does bring with it the need to make the films “fun for the whole family,” kudos must be given for not dumbing the story down too much.
While Chimpanzee does have narration and a story arc that is somewhat thrust upon it, the imagery is so gorgeous that maintaining any haughty criticism in just bananas. (Ha!) In celebration, this week’s TBMYPHS is focused on nature documentaries that stand out as transformative works of art. While I love some of the BBC/PBS stuff like, say, Wild China, we’re looking for a different type of journey with this one. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Angie Han
As controversial as the death penalty is, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that it’s a huge, complicated topic. Too big, definitely, for just one film, which may be why Werner Herzog is now expanding his upcoming death row documentary Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life to a limited television series titled On Death Row, which will air on the cable chanel Investigation Discovery later this year. More details after the jump.
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I imagine that most of our readers have strong feelings about the death penalty, one way or the other. It’s not the sort of topic that leads to indifference. Whether you support or protest the right of a state to kill specific citizens that are convicted of heinous crimes, I expect there will be something in Werner Herzog‘s new movie to challenge your opinion. And what good is an opinion if it can’t take a challenge?
Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life is a documentary that follows the stories of a few death row inmates in Texas. Herzog talks to the inmates, and to some of the officers who investigated their crimes, as well as others who are involved in the lives and crimes of these inmates. By many accounts the film is a very even-handed look at those sentenced to die, and I can’t wait to see the film. After the controversy over the execution of Troy Davis here in Georgia, the film seems very timely. Check out a trailer below. Read More »