Werner Herzog is one of the most impressive and influential directors of all-time, and unfortunately most of America, and perhaps the movie-going world don't recognize his name. Films he might be most known for by a wider audience would likely include: "Rescue Dawn" (2006) starring Christian Bale, "Grizzly Man" (2005) about the crazy man who was literally eaten by what he loved, and "Nosferatu the Vampyre" (1979) one of a few great vampyre films.
Herzog has a whole universe of films which are all individually unique. He's done documentaries, where he takes a camera and follows after random subjects he finds curious or puzzling and edits the footage. He has an extremely unusual curiosity and he simply films the process of finding the answers.
He's a crazy nutter compared to modern directors who can take a first class flight all over the globe and spend nights on plush mattresses in fancy rooms. Herzog spent much of his filming career in the sticks, way, way back in the sticks. "Fitzcarraldo" is one of my favorites, a film about the most determined man intending to open an opera house in the middle of a jungle, and forces a very large boat in and through places it shouldn't be able to go. While filming Herzog had a real 340-ton steamship moved over a mountain without the use of special effects. Herzog made several attempts to cast a role in the film which required the actor to board and ride through rapids, his actor of choice refused and so six other men filled the role, 3 of which were wounded, and 1 had broken his ribs.
Needless to say Herzog will go to the end of the Earth to complete a film. His very specific vision demands perfection, which is very rare in Hollywood directors today.
The story of "Queen of the Desert" is true story about the life of Gertrude Bell and her life as a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attache for the British Empire. This character will represent the first time a woman has taken the spotlight for a Herzog film, and with her character's attributes, would make for a woman after Herzog's own heart. The legendary director has vast interests about all sorts of things, random things, and locations and their cultures is a little of it. This "Queen" of the desert was really a British spy who heavily influenced how the modern Iraq was established and held a very powerful position in the area and the era and took orders from no one.
The role of Gertrude Bell is played by Nicole Kidman (just completed "Paddington"), who co-stars with James Franco (my favorite Franco role was in "127 Hours), Robert Pattinson (most recognized from "Twilight"), and Damien Lewis (a nominated actor for the television series "Homeland").
Robert Pattinson plays a man named Lawrence, described as a contemporary of Bell's who is best known in the 1962 film "Lawrence of Arabia".
"Queen of the Desert" is both written and directed by Werner Herzog, like most of his projects. The film has already been seen by a large German audience, and has been given an American release date in September this year.
Mark your calendars! Save the date! Check out some of Werner Herzog's other works while you wait!