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

by Edward Davis
July 14, 2014 3:21 PM
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Werner Herzog, Queen of The Desert

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 | August 12, 2014 9:55 AMReply

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

  • ali | July 17, 2014 2:34 PMReply

    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

  • unsure | July 17, 2014 11:28 AMReply

    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

  • unsure | July 17, 2014 11:21 AMReply

    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 )

  • unsure | July 17, 2014 11:10 AMReply

    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

  • unsure | July 22, 2014 4:37 AM

    Box office , I said it would at least start with a wider release, I had forgot to say but read recent comments were re saying that even with a wider release , WFE wasnt shown in their area, and apparently a lot of (Im in the UK) American cinemas only show the big box office films? does anyone know how its decided which theatres its released in? does anyone know how the money is made from films, production of the film get a payment and or a cut of BO, and Itune,DVD sales or is that just the distributor ? could someone please tell me how to find out how much money was made from iTunes and DVD sales for films please I have tried different searches and cant find any info,thanks
    (WFE there was already support of the book and interest in the film, some Rob fans had read the book, a lot hadn't but did, they were disappointed that they changed some of the story, changes the feel of the film, story which is why thy liked the book)a lot of Rob fans are now reading ,finding out more about Bell, which will increase the interest I could cope with Kidman even if it wasn't a very emotional performance, but I am so upset Franco is in it , I don't think I can shut him out as a person and just accept his character, I was looking forward to this, hope it isgood and he gets good reviews but I cant see the critics liking his peformance if they don't like the role of the character, back to all the silly comments from Twi and WFE, hope not though

  • unsure | July 18, 2014 11:14 AM

    I just realised I didnt explain that very well, he was very proud of the actual film aswell,
    from other promotions Rob will probably have looked into the background story of Bell, though he has been told off for it and not just looking at the script,
    unfortunatly most of the critism was about the chemistry between him and Reese, we had been shown pictures and clips which showed good chemistry and looked good, but for some reason they were taken out of the film
    but like most of the films hes done they become personal, production / director trying to second guess twi fans etc; instead of trusting the story and making it the best it can be, hopefully this is stopping now, a lot of Rob fans have been dissapointed with the films due to changes made by directors

  • An Ominous Prediction | July 16, 2014 6:50 AMReply

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

  • Truth | July 31, 2014 1:00 PM

    You are correct. His last two films never got US distribution. The script for Queen of the Desert was horrendous. One of the worse scripts I've ever read. He's strictly riding on his auteur status from the 70s.

  • little my | July 15, 2014 12:15 PMReply

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

  • Another Flop | July 16, 2014 6:59 AM

    @SHE'S ABOVE. Yeah, a tiny fan base of batsh!t crazy Kidmaniacs who are obviously deaf, dumb and clinically blind when it comes to critiquing Kidman movies.

  • She's Above | July 15, 2014 8:17 PM

    @Another Flop, Sorry and all your other fake names -- what a sicko. You do know that nothing you say is going to make any difference in the life of Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, don't you? You just make yourself look like a fool.

    She's working with the most respected directors and actors in the business. She has a fanbase and she's happily married with children. NOTHING you say makes any difference in her life.

    You are a loser, and a waste of space. People like me will go see her films just to spite losers like you. And ten years from now she will still have a career and you will probably still be a loser.

  • Another Flop | July 15, 2014 5:28 PM

    'Botoxed Queen of the Desert' will be Box office FLOP number TWENTY ONE (21) for Nicole Kidman, the 'Queen of Box Office Poison'.

  • az | July 15, 2014 10:27 AMReply

    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?

  • Hm | July 16, 2014 9:52 AM

    The problem is the amount of it. I really don't care for their looks, but when it affects the performance and make it feels artificial, it really bugs me.

  • az | July 16, 2014 3:55 AM

    That's just not true. This past month alone I've seen things starring a couple of actresses, both hugely popular with audience and critics alike, both examples. You'd be hard pressed to find any leading lady who isn't aware of the effects of age, the brutal reality is they either disappear from the scene or do something to slow the progress. If you're anti surgery attack the machine not the women.

  • Oh dear | July 15, 2014 5:24 PM

    The "more obvious examples than Kidman" who are overusing Botox are B/C Grade actresses who have minimal talent - just like Kidman.

  • Steph | July 15, 2014 7:02 AMReply

    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.

  • Steph | July 15, 2014 6:59 AMReply

    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!

  • Amy | July 15, 2014 1:52 AMReply

    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.

  • Steph | July 15, 2014 7:06 AM

    "Sorry", you sound completely insane. We get it, you hate Nicole Kidman. Now please, stop making a fool of yourself.

  • Steph | July 15, 2014 7:06 AM

    "Sorry", you sound completely insane. We get it, you hate Nicole Kidman. Now please, stop making a fool of yourself.

  • Sorry | July 15, 2014 5:51 AM

    Botox is a procedures that " freezes" a face and strips it of emotion and FYI, the film (featuring Botox Junkie Nicole Kidman) will be bad.

  • Hmm | July 14, 2014 11:15 PMReply

    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.

  • HMM | July 16, 2014 9:46 AM

    She's far from being boring and is also a phenomenal actress. While Nicole lost her magic due her new weird face.

  • Lily | July 15, 2014 7:09 AM

    IMO Naomi Watts is incredibly BORING.

  • Camden | July 14, 2014 5:28 PMReply

    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.

  • Sorry | July 15, 2014 5:45 AM

    Kidman was almost universally panned for her one-dimensional, pantomimed, wooden, frigid acting in 'Grace of Monaco.' Not sure what reviews you read.

  • Genadijus | July 14, 2014 5:07 PMReply

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

  • Jessica | July 14, 2014 4:41 PMReply

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

  • Steph | July 15, 2014 7:13 AM

    "Josh" has never watched a Werner Herzog film in her life. She just hates anyone who say good things about Nicole Kidman. Because "Josh" is insane.

  • josh | July 15, 2014 6:01 AM

    Herzog is 71 and obviously insane in making "ominous predictions" regarding Kidman's expected non-performance. It's time he retired.

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