Nicole Kidman is back on the big screen in the true-to-life story of a trailblazing woman in Queen of the Desert, helmed by award-winning director Werner Herzog.
Kidman plays Gertrude Bell, aptly referenced as the “Queen of the Desert,” who was a British political officer and archaeologist, but ultimately a trailblazer on her own terms. The story details the extraordinary adventures of Bell wrestling with the conflicts of love and tragedy, enemy and friend as she seeks to understand and unify people from different cultures.
Bell, a real-life British woman, was alternately a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the 20th century. While a commoner, she was nonetheless a kingmaker, helping found the modern states of Iraq and Jordan and installing their first rulers, King Abdullah and King Faisal.
Another legendary character that appears in this film is T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, played by Robert Pattinson. His role as T.E. Lawrence was a British Army officer whose writing earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, on whom David Lean’s 1962 classic blockbuster movie epic is based. Lawrence was a good friend to Bell over the years, as the duo helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq.
“I needed an Englishman, who still has the air of a schoolboy, but who is very intelligent. He plays Lawrence of Arabia, but at age 22, on an archaeological site. Pattinson is very good in this role. He is an intelligent man and the choice was quite natural”, says Herzog of casting Pattinson.
The Twilight star says landing the role was “just crazy.” “I’ve been a fan of Herzog since I was 16. I met him for that job three years ago; I thought it was never going to happen and when it finally did, it was amazing. Riding around Morocco on a camel, it was pretty great,” says Pattinson in his previous interviews.
Of working with the director, Pattinson says, “It’s insane because he wrote the script as well and it’s one of the most difficult scripts I’ve ever read. 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 percent belief in himself.”
From Axinite Digicinema, Queen of the Desert opens March 2 exclusively at Ayala Mall Cinemas.