Werner Herzog’s next feature film seems to have difficulty getting off the ground … or through the desert. Queen Of The Desert was announced all the way back in 2011, and has since gone through a number of delays and one or two cast changes; I believe that Jude Law was once attached to play T.E. Lawrence, but that role has since fallen to Robert Pattinson. Another cast change has just developed, this time involving the central character. Naomi Watts has stepped down from the part of Gertrude Bell, and she is to be replaced by Nicole Kidman.
While Watts’s departure is unfortunate – she’s been attached to the project almost as long as Herzog has – Kidman seems an adequate replacement for Queen Of The Desert. She’ll be playing Bell, the traveller, archaeologist and spy who was instrumental in determining British policy in various Middle Eastern countries, including helping to establish the modern state of Iraq. Kidman joins Pattinson, as T.E. Lawrence, and James Franco.
Herzog is no stranger to difficult productions, of course. This is the man who made a ton of movies with Klaus Kinski, and actually dragged a steamboat over a mountain. But one would have thought that a man capable of producing a documentary a year, or so it seems, would be able to get a feature film rolling. It’s not entirely clear why it’s taking so long for the film to begin production, except that cast reshuffling keeps stalling it out. With Kidman in the lead role, maybe it will finally get going. Quite honestly, I very much want to see this one.
There’s still no word on when production will begin, but all the financing and the main cast seem to be in place. Will Herzog finally manage to get his cast into the desert to begin shooting? We can only hope.
What do you think of Kidman replacing Watts in Queen Of The Desert? Let us know in the comments.