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Werner Herzog Talks ‘Queen Of The Desert’ & Makes “Ominous Prediction” About Nicole Kidman’s Performance

Werner Herzog Talks ‘Queen Of The Desert’ & Makes "Ominous Prediction" About Nicole Kidman’s Performance

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. 

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Luz Maria Rojas

Werner is unique, he is one of the most important directors alive. I will be waiting for this film.
I admire him deeply!


Werner Herzog is unique. Can't wait for this. Sorry to see people commenting on the Grace of Monaco reviews. The director basically totally screwed it up and didn't even follow the original script and that's why Harvey Weinstein pulled his support. We sometimes forget that directors are the people who incluence cilms the most. Another being the box office disaster of the Julian Assange film starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It was a direction problem mainly.
Nicole is a good actress, Robert Pattinson is improving all the time and will be stunning in an epic like this and Damian Lewis is also good although not sure if he's a movie star. Personally I don't like Franco but hey 3 out 4 is not bad


James Franco? I dont follow films, actors saw twi DVD , searched about Rob and quite liked him, found him interesting , looking forward to seeing his films, i only know of james as he wanted to do an art/music? project with Rob and he said no, I personaly wont be supporting QOFD, I am allowed my opinion there is no need for anyone who likes him to be nasty to me, but I dont feel comfortable supporting him, with his carry on , pics on twitter etc: and the types of films he had scripted and acted in


Nichole Kidman? oscar winner ten years ago, I dont know her films, or how she comes accross personaly, not seen interviews, I have only seen her in Golden Compass, I didnt enjoy her performance, but was more disappointed because it was a character she could have brought a lot to, accross as Ive seen in other actors/actresses Im not keen on, very confident solid performance, but theres nothing there, emotion, intensity , going through the motions. to me personaly, I would expect as some comments have suggested she isnt very personable which doesnt help for promotion especially if she makes Rob feel too self concious his way is wrong (I am aware he may take a comment too far sometimes, or should have worded it better but theres no malice, nastiness , usualy people appreciate a bit of personality )


box office flop? depends on reviews and if theyre actually posted on RT Rob has had the best critic reviews for the Rover impressed with his acting not just better than his previous but for some reason atleast 30 positive have not been included including apositive one from indiewire B+, but the negative c- was?
the budget for QOTD is about $40m will have a wider thatre opening straight away, same as Rob WF which made $120 profit of $80 (despite uk paper telling everyone to bycott it due to a video poss about Tai elephant that the media were aware of but not concerned about years before only concerned when WF was at No. 2 at the BO?)
The story should be good, interesting have possibly a wider audience than WF, problem is the amount of advertising, it will have a lot on Rob sites but hes only in a few scenes?
which is a shame as the film would have had more support,people supported WF more because promoted it well as he enjoyed it and had a childlike awa for the enviroment and animals,also he did a lot of promo on his own and had fun with it, had critisism about not being proffessional enough but as hes explained when he is the madia/commentators twist what he says into something else, its a shame people on rob sites dont give more support or complain about gossip/celeb sites post neg/false stories which discredit, then he would be able to do more proffessional as well, some actreses have said they dont like actors being captivating, most do

An Ominous Prediction

Nicole Kidman's Queen of the Desert will be a box office flop.

little my

Cant wait to see Kidman and Herzog team up, Nicole has given her best performances under visionary auteurs.


If it's about Botox then pick pretty much any Hollywood actress close to or beyond the age of forty, and there are more obvious examples than Kidman, who seems to receive the brunt of the abuse – is that you Tom? – but actually moves her face just fine. Seems to me losers who were disappointed to discover it suddenly offensive to hurl abuse at famous women for their looks, feel they're on safer ground commenting on perceived plastic surgery. You're not, you're still the same prick who drove actresses to surgeons in the first place. How about you take yourselves to the surgeons, maybe then you won't feel so twisted?


Oh and "Josh"/ "Sorry" doesn't even know who Werner Herzog is. She's just obsessed with Nicole and trashes her all over the internet.


The crazy Kidman hater posting under multiple names ("Sorry", "Josh") is here and she's clearly very pissed about what Werner Herzog said. As a Kidman fan, I LOVE IT!


Ah, first pitch of the botox brigade. They whine but directors don't care. They whine but still manage to see the film enough to comment on the performance. Kidman will still be acting for another 40 years or so. Swallow your "frustration" or spend your money elsewhere. FYI, botox is not a surgical procedure that "changes" a face. Let's talk about the film being good or bad.


I like Nicole and James but I like way more werner's first choice which were Naomi Watts and Jude Law, I feel really frustrated with the fact they had to leave the project. I know Nicole is a good actress but to be honest what she's done with her face (that weird big amount of botox and duck lips) really annoys me on her performances, it feels very artificial.


As bad as the reviews for Grace of Monaco were, they didn't fault Nicole for her acting. She was supposed to be good in poor material. Kidman doesn't have the warmest personality, but hopefully the desert and Herzog have brought out the best in her.

I'm really looking forward to this because it's about a strong woman actually doing something with her life, not just whining about her lot or being someone's girlfriend.


Can't wait for it, who knows maybe this is a dark horse of the awards season.


Herzog knows what he's talking about, looking forward to the film.

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