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Ridley Scott Takes A Page From Werner Herzog, Now Chasing Gertrude Bell Biopic

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 30, 2011 at 5:28AM

This might put a damper on Werner Herzog's day. While the eccentric helmer has been trying to get his own tale of Gertrude Bell off the ground -- last month he was said to be in serious talks with Naomi Watts for the part -- another director, with a bigger marquee cachet and easier access to financing is mounting his own picture on the same subject.
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This might put a damper on Werner Herzog's day. While the eccentric helmer has been trying to get his own tale of Gertrude Bell off the ground -- last month he was said to be in serious talks with Naomi Watts for the part -- another director, with a bigger marquee cachet and easier access to financing is mounting his own picture on the same subject.

Deadline reports that Ridley Scott now has a film of his own in development on Gertrude Bell. The film will be written by Jeffrey Caine ("The Constant Gardner," "Goldeneye") and, not surprisingly, is set up under the Scott Free banner over at Fox. The film would tell the story of Gertrude Bell, a real-life British woman who was a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the 20th century. While only a commoner, Bell's efforts were key in helping found the modern states of Iraq and Jordan and installing their first rulers, King Abdullah and King Faisal.

Now, what this means for Herzog's project remains to be seen. Honestly, probably not much. Scott attaches himself to a new project seemingly every month or so -- "The Color of Lightning" and "The Wolf Of Wall Street" being some of the most recent mentioned, but there are scores of others -- so there is no guarantee that this will be his next film. Scott likes to have as many irons in the fire as possible and right now, he's right in the midst of filming "Prometheus," and he'll likely wait to see a script before making any kind of decisions.

So if Herzog can secure an actress like Watts which will help the financing get in place, we could see his film still happening, though word has been quiet around the project lately. So, just slot it as yet another potential project for Scott and don't be surprised if he continues to add more options in the months ahead for what he'll do after he's finished his "Alien" spinoff/prequel thing.