German filmmaker Werner Herzog is on the brain today. The 71-year-old filmmaker is about to celebrate the release of the superb Shout Factory boxset "Herzog: The Collection" and he’s got a new film waiting in the wings. Titled “Queen Of The Desert," the film features the filmmaker’s most starry cast to date: Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, “Homeland” star Damian Lewis and many more. The film chronicles the events of Gertrude Bell’s life, a British explorer, traveler, archaeologist and political officer. And apparently it’s done and in the can.
Co-producer Nick N. Raslan tweeted the first photo of the movie over the weekend, said the movie was done and described it as a “true epic” (you can see the tweets below). Surely if the picture is done that means we can absolutely expect it at one of the fall film festivals this September, at either TIFF, Telluride, Venice or NYFF (it’s on our Fall Festival Wishlist feature as well). Producer Cassian Elwes has also said on Twitter he hopes to release the film in the fall, so that certainly means a fall film festival debut first and then hopefully after a strong reception, a distributor who’s willing to release it this year.
Why this year and not next as many indies often do? Well, according to Werner Herzog itself, it’s potentially because Nicole Kidman may have some awards-season fire in it. Playlist contributor James Rocchi spoke to Herzog last week and during a conversation about the acting powers of Klaus Kinski and Nicolas Cage, Herzog veered off to discuss how impressed he was with Kidman. “I think in all my films, the actors are at their best—and it includes Nicolas Cage in ‘Bad Lieutenant.’ I believe he is better than even in the part that won him an Academy Award,” Herzog said of Cage’s Best Actor win for “Leaving Las Vegas.”
"Now, Nicole Kidman,” Herzog said of her lead performance in "Queen Of The Desert." “Wait for that one. Wait for it. I make an ominous prediction: How good she is.”
Herzog wasn’t shy about giving self-props to the environment he creates to assist the actor in giving their best performance possible. “I really take care of actors. I’m not explaining too much, but they feel safe, they feel guided, they feel a kind of dynamic that I can create. They know I can get the best of the best out of them. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m paid for.”
Herzog’s actors have had similar praise for the filmmaker. Robert Pattinson recently told Little White Lies magazine that Herzog has "insane confidence."
"It’s insane because he wrote the script as well and it’s one of the most difficult scripts I’ve ever read," he said. "Werner’s great. He’s exactly what you’d expect. He’s got so many amazing stories. He’s got insane confidence as well. I think that’s where all his creativity comes from. He’s got 100% belief in himself."
Earlier this year Kidman spoke about working with the filmmaker and said that protective environment is unique. “I call it Werner World,” she said of being directed by him. “Werner World is just a different realm. It’s glorious. I said to him, ‘Werner, I feel like I’ve been in a dream with you for the past two-and-a-half months, and now I’ve got my feet back on earth.’ I’m at a place where I’m so interested in exploring things and going places that I haven’t been. I want my life to be full, so that means all of us—my family—up and moving to Morocco and doing this so we can have the experience.”
Certainly “Queen Of The Desert” is one of the most anticipated films for what’s left of 2014. You’ll certainly see it this fall at one (or two) of the fall film festivals, it’s really just a matter of which one lands the picture for the premiere. More from our lengthy Werner Herzog interview next week.
A snap shot from "Queen of the Desert" pic.twitter.com/wTvYoVW5TU— Nick Raslan (@NickRaslan)
— cassian elwes (@cassianelwes)
Just viewed the final cut of "Queen of the Desert". It’s a true EPIC.— Nick Raslan (@NickRaslan)