The first international trailer for Queen of the Desert, chronicling the life of Gertrude Bell, has premiered. The film, which stars Nicole Kidman (Paddington) as Bell, along with James Franco (True Story) and Robert Pattinson (The Rover) as two of her love interests, is directed by legendary German auteur Werner Herzog (Rescue Dawn). It premiered earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival to middling reviews, but the hope for distributor Atlas Co. is that the names and talent behind the film will be enough for it to find an audience.
Gertrude Bell was a writer and member of the British Secret Service, and an attaché for the British Empire at the onset of the twentieth century. Queen of the Desert follows her relations with many leaders and natives throughout the Middle East, where she established an immense influence and trust among both British officials and Arab leaders. Other historical figures, such as T.E. Lawrence (played by Pattinson), appear in the film. Lawrence, a famous British diplomat, is immortalized in celluloid thanks in part to Peter O’Toole’s (Ratatouille) performance in the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia.
For director Herzog, who filmed much of the film in the harsh desert landscape, the relationship between people and nature has always been a point of fascination. The filmmaker has explored this theme numerously throughout his career, most famously in films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Rescue Dawn and the docs Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World.
Queen of the Desert will have a late September release.