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The Playlist

Naomi Watts Out, Nicole Kidman In For Werner Herzog’s Sweeping ‘Queen of the Desert’

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 8, 2013 12:53 PM
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  • 22 Comments
Like a mirage that seems to vanish in the arid air, Naomi Watts has departed Werner Herzog’s new film, “Queen of the Desert,” but been replaced by someone of equally impressive star magnitude in Nicole Kidman. The news comes out of the Toronto International Film Festival, which is where all news should be coming out of this week. The film co-stars James Franco and Robert Pattinson and tells the story of real-life 20th century explorer Gertrude Bell. Expect lots of sand and those old timey explorer helmets.

Watch: Trailers For 9 Of The 16 Werner Herzog Films Being Remastered & Reissued By Shout! Factory

  • By Ben Brock
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  • August 21, 2013 4:24 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The heroes over at Shout! Factory have recently announced that they'll be remastering and releasing 16—count 'em, 16—films by Werner Herzog in several formats both physical and digital. Shout! will be releasing titles chiefly from Herzog's 70s and '80s back catalog, when the Bavaria-born director was still largely working in German (if not necessarily in Germany, jungles feature pretty heavily in some of these pictures), and their list includes both documentaries, shorts and feature films.

Watch: Powerful 35-Minute Werner Herzog Doc 'From One Second To The Next' About Texting While Driving

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 8, 2013 5:52 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Earlier this year, Werner Herzog dropped a bracing, eye-opening commercial/PSA that addressed the dangers of texting while driving. It was much more powerful than these kinds of projects usually are, and rather remarkably, he's upped his game one notch further.

Contest: Win 'Act Of Killing' Poster Signed By Executive Producer Werner Herzog & Director Joshua Oppenheimer

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 5, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 2 Comments
A film that first astounded and terrified us when we saw it at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, and has shaken nearly every team member at The Playlist who's caught up with it since, Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary "The Act Of Killing" is one of the most unforgettable cinematic experiences you'll have this year. And with the movie expanding this past weekend to even more cities, we have a special prize for those equally taken with the film or anyone who is a die hard Herzog fan.

Watch: Werner Herzog's Eye-Opening 'Don’t Text While Driving’ PSA

  • By Ken Guidry
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  • May 30, 2013 3:13 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The majority of AT&T commercials these days tend to feature a guy talking to a group of kindergarten kids, listening to them say the “darndest things.” But most recently, AT&T has been taking on a more serious issue in their ads, regarding texting and driving. The ads are meant to promote their “It Can Wait” campaign, where people can go on the campaign’s website (itcanwait.com) and pledge to never text and drive. In one of their latest “It can wait” ads, they have enlisted the help of filmmaker Werner Herzog, and the end result is pretty sobering.

James Franco Could Replace Jude Law In Werner Herzog’s ‘Queen Of The Desert’

  • By Edward Davis
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  • April 25, 2013 2:06 PM
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  • 4 Comments
James Franco
​​Greenlight power is everything, and it often requires a top-shelf or name-brand cast to light the fuse. Werner Herzog seemingly nailed it with the power trio of Robert Pattinson, Naomi Watts and Jude Law for his would-be next narrative feature, "Queen of the Desert" -- the true story of Gertrude Bell (Watts), the traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. So this should be more than enough, no? But with what one assumes could be expensive location shoots in far off locations outside the U.S., "Queen of the Desert" hasn't really moved forward. In fact, it seemed very up in the air in the last few months. Watts herself suggested the movie was on hold and Jude Law told us in a recent interview that he was likely unable to participate likely because his scheduling window had closed.

Watch: Werner Herzog Describes Roger Ebert's Search For "Truth In Cinema" On 'Charlie Rose'

  • By Ken Guidry
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  • April 16, 2013 1:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Werner Herzog, Roger Ebert
It’s really amazing how fast time flies. It has already been two weeks since Roger Ebert left us, leaving a void in the film world that may never be filled. For many, his name was synonymous with the term “movie critic” with the Siskel & Ebert brand becoming a household name shortly after entering national syndication over thirty years ago. And though his contributions to his “At the Movies” show were limited starting in 2006, he still regularly updated his website with at least three to four reviews every weekend. Plus, once a month, he’d enter a new addition to his “Great Movies” list, giving us keen insight on all the great films in cinema, classic or modern.

R.I.P. Les Blank (1935-2013): Watch His Docs 'Burden Of Dreams,' 'Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe' & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 7, 2013 4:12 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Les Blank
The myriad stories of venerable filmmaker Werner Herzog are mythic, and he's often considered a living legend. He was shot with an air rifle during an interview and brushed it off. He pulled a man out of car wreckage on a canyon road above Sunset Blvd. and it turned out to be Joaquin Phoenix. But the early legends of Herzog and his cinematic exploits crystallized largely thanks to documentarian Les Blank. The filmmaker captured the short film, “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” in 1979 -- Herzog lost a bet to then-fledgling filmmaker Errol Morris who he ventured would never make a movie -- and then later directed and shot the astounding doc, "Burden Of Dreams" (1982), about the chaotic production Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo," filmed in the jungles of South America in the same year. Known for his idiosyncratic documentaries about the eccentric, sadly, the New York Times reports this afternoon that Blank died today at the age of 77 at his home in Berkeley, California.

Berlin Interview: Nicolas Cage Explains Why 'Wicker Man' Is Misunderstood, His Career Choices & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 20, 2013 12:23 PM
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  • 14 Comments
With “The Croods,” an animated family film from DreamWorks (our review here), premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival, lead voice actor Nicolas Cage was in town over the weekend, and we got to speak with him in a small group of journalists. About the experience of working on the film itself (“It’s like ‘Avatar’ meets ‘Yellow Submarine’ with these people who look like Neanderthals” he summed up) he had nothing but good things to say: “I feel like this is the best chance I’ve had to perform in an animated movie.” But he was also frank and forthcoming about other areas of his working life.

Naomi Watts Says Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Robert Pattinson & Jude Law On Hold

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 20, 2013 11:15 AM
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  • 4 Comments
It's coming on four years since Werner Herzog's last narrative feature – 2009's "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done" – and it looks like we're in for an even longer wait. Initially slated to start shooting in March in Morocco with Naomi Watts, Robert Pattinson and Jude Law, Herzog's biopic of Gertrude Bell – traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century – in "Queen Of The Desert," seems to be on hold.

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