Nicole Kidman and Robert Pattinson Star in First Trailer for Queen of the Desert

Posted on July 4, 2015

Nicole Kidman stars as legendary British explorer, archeologist, author, cartographer, spy and diplomat Gertrude Bell in the first trailer for Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert. Bell was an amazing woman who was quite unusual for her time.

Born into a wealthy family in England, she graduated from Oxford University and headed off to to visit her uncle who represented Great Britain in Tehran, Persia. That began an amazing career. She was fluent in multiple languages, negotiated treaties, climbed mountains and created maps of heretofore inaccessible areas. She worked with T.H. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia and with British Intelligence during World War I. She is still highly regarded in Iraq and Jordan, two countries she helped found with the Hashemite royal family. Her first love was archeology and she founded the Baghdad Archaeological Museum -- the one that got looted during the most recent Iraq war.

She has an amazing life story and Nicole Kidman should do a fabulous job portraying her. But here's the problem: the trailer is not great, although it is beautiful. The dialogue seems taken out of context and consists mostly of her telling someone she won't do what they say. No doubt she did spend a great deal of time dealing with British men who were always telling her what to do and she did have to say no a a lot. After all, she was traveling in some very wild territory as a single woman in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which was pretty much unheard of for a woman of her background. But she was highly respected by the diplomatic corps and the tribesmen alike with which she formed excellent working relationships. And the trailer never explains who she is or why her story is important. A nice voiceover narration would have been helpful, then perhaps showing her climbing mountains, negotiating treaties and racing across the desert on a camel. We can only hope that this trailer was thrown together by an intern and that the movie will be much better.

The film has a stellar cast. In the film Robert Pattinson plays Lawrence of Arabia, James Franco is Henry Cadogan, Damian Lewis is Charles Doughty-Wylie, Jenny Aggutter is Florence Bell and Christopher Fulford is a very grumpy Winston Churchill, who presided over the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. German director and screenwriter Werner Herzog wrote and directed the film. Take a look:

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