Sands Shift In ‘Queen Of The Desert;’ Nicole Kidman Eyed To Replace Naomi Watts As Gertrude Bell
Looks like director Werner Herzog is going to get a new Queen Of The Desert. I’m hearing that Naomi Watts is exiting the film about the early 20th Century explorer Gertrude Bell, and that Nicole Kidman is in talks to take the plum role.
This follows a switch of the male leads earlier this year, when Jude Law departed and James Franco replaced him. Robert Pattinson also stars. Bell is the iconic explorer, writer, archeologist and attaché for the British Empire who is credited with helping to catalyze the formation of the Middle East at the dawn of the 20th century. The story plays with the sweep of Lawrence Of Arabia, potentially, and Kidman seems a nice match for the material.
Nick Raslan is producing through his Palmyra Films banner along with Cassian Elwes and Michael Benaroya. Benaroya’s Benaroya Pictures banner will finance the film. Sierra/Affinity will handle international sales.
Kidman is here in Toronto where her new movie The Railway Man premiered Friday evening. That Jonathan Teplitzky-directed film, about a brutalized WWII POW who gets to confront his Japanese torturer, is considered a prime acquisition title here in the festival here. Kidman also stars in the Olivier Dahan-directed Grace Of Monaco, which The Weinstein Company releases November 27, in the head of the Oscar race. Kidman is repped by CAA and Media Talent Group.
Toronto: Naomi Watts To Star In Errol Morris-Helmed ‘Holland, Michigan’
Naomi Watts is in talks to star in Holland, Michigan, a thriller that will be directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris from a script by first time screenwriter Andrew Sodroski. The script is described as a suburban thriller with pitch black humor. Le Grisbi Productions’ John Lesher and Adam Kassan are producing and Sean Murphy will be co-producer. Production will start in April.
Watts will be seen next as Princess Diana in the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed biopic Diana. She just wrapped the Ted Melfi-directed St. Vincent De Van Nuys with Bill Murray and the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Birdman, the latter of which Lesher produced.
Morris is at Toronto to unveil his latest documentary, The Unknown Known and his past work includes The Thin Blue Line, Tabloid and the Oscar-winning The Fog Of War: Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S. McNamara. Morris served as executive producer on Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act Of Killing.
Lesher is currently in pre-production on the David Ayer-helmed WWII film Fury with Brad Pitt. He produced Blood Ties, Guillaume Canet’s English language debut which premiered at Cannes, and was acquired by Lionsgate. Watts is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
James Franco To Replace Jude Law In QUEEN OF THE DESERT
Werner Herzog’s biopic about Gertrude Bell, an English writer and political officer who helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq has James Franco circling the role that Jude Law was going to play.
Previously scheduled to start shooting ‘in late fall of 2012‘ and then rescheduled for March shoot in Morocco with Naomi Watts, Robert Pattinson and with Jude Law attached, Herzog’s next narrative feature was on hold. Now it appears Oz the Great and Powerful himself may ride in to save the day because Law’s likely unable to participate since his scheduling window had closed.
The film has Watts set to star as famous British Intelligence female spy, while Pattison is attached to star in the film as T.E. Lawrence, the British army officer best known by his nickname Lawrence of Arabia (or should Franco take this role, we do not know yet).
The free-spirited Franco is currently filming true life crime drama True Story with Jonah Hill and Felicity Jones and will soon be seen in apocalyptic stoner comedy This Is The End.
Naomi Watts in Negotiations for Noah Baumbach Movie
Noah Baumbach once again is trying to mount his midlife-crisis-for-hipsters movie While We’re Young.
Naomi Watts is in talks to star opposite Ben Stiller, and Girls’ star Adam Driver also is in talks to join the project, which will likely shoot in the fall in New York.
The project has been on and off for Baumbach and some of its stars. Both Stiller and Driver were around in an earlier incarnation that included Greta Gerwig, but securing financing has been a consistent problem with the project. In fact, a scheduled spring shoot didn’t happen for financial reasons. But Watts’ involvement could help the filmmaker secure the coin.
Written by Baumbach, the story revolves around an uptight documentary filmmaker (Stiller) and his wife (Watts) who find their lives loosened up a bit after befriending a free-spirited younger couple. Driver would play one half of the younger couple. Amanda Seyfried’s name has surfaced as a candidate for the mate of Driver’s character.
(Other incarnations of this project have included James Franco, Cate Blanchett and Jesse Eisenberg.)
Baumbach’s frequent collaborator Scott Rudin is producing.
Watts, who will next be seen in Sunlight Jr. and Two Mothers, also has the Princess Diana biopic Diana in the can. The Aussie star is filming the Alejandro González Iñárritu comedy Birdman and has St. Vincent de Van Nuys on tap.
She is repped by CAA and manager Jason Weinberg at Untitled Entertainment.
Driver already has a packed schedule. He is gearing up to star opposite Chris O’Dowd in Max Winkler’s adaptation of The Coward and will shoot Shawn Levy’s and Warner Brothers’ adaptation of This Is Where I Leave You in the summer, while also shooting a new season of Girls.
He is repped by Gersh.
Naomi Watts To Join Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd In ‘St. Vincent De Van Nuys’
Naomi Watts is in talks to star in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, the film that Ted Melfi will direct from his script for The Weinstein Company, Chernin Entertainment and Don Cheadle’s Crescendo. Watts will join Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd. Watts will play a Russian prostitute who develops a close relationship with the title character (Murray), a cantankerous guy who becomes a chief influence on an angelic 12-year old boy whose hardworking single mother (McCarthy) foists child care duties on Murray’s character. The project, which Chernin Entertainment developed for two years with Melfi’s Black List script, has been compared to As Good As It Gets or even TWC’s recent Silver Linings Playbook for the way it mixes comedy and human pathos. Watts is coming off an Oscar-nominated performance in The Impossible. Every age appropriate hot actress in town chased this role. She’s repped by CAA and Untitled.
Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Keaton to Star in ‘Birdman’
Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s dark comedy piece follows a former actor as he mounts a Broadway play based on a Raymond Chandler short story.
Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis will star in Birdman, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s latest project that is being made by Fox Searchlight and New Regency.
As opposed to Innaritu’s usual soul-searing dramas, Birdman is a dark comedy that follows a former actor, who once played an iconic superhero, as he mounts a Broadway play based on a Raymond Chandler short story in a bid to reclaim past glory. However, the play’s egotistical leading man threatens to throw everything down the tubes.
Keaton, who played Batman in the early 1990s Tim Burton movies, is the comic book movie star trying to regain his credibility.
Stone will play Keaton’s daughter, fresh from rehab and now his assistant. Watts will be an actress in the play, while Galifianakis will play the production’s conniving producer.
Naomi Watts’ Movie With Robert Pattinson On Hold: “It’s Time For Me to be Home With the Kids”
Robert Pattinson and Naomi Watts will not be coming to theater near you anytime soon.
At least not together, that is.
The two are signed to costar along with Jude Law in a Queen of the Desert, a period piece about British writer, traveler, archeologist and spy Gertrude Bell.
“It’s still a way’s off,” Watts told me last night at the Luminara and Mulberry Project dinner for her Sundance Film Festival movie, Two Mothers. “I don’t know yet. Hopefully, it will happen. I just can’t travel again right now because I did a lot of traveling last year. It’s been a big year and it’s time for me to be home with the kids.”
And speaking of kids, in Two Mothers, Watts and Robin Wright play best friends who fall in love with each other’s teenage sons.
“These are two great female characters full of complexities who are dealing with that midlife point,” Watts said. “It’s definitely an unconventional love story.”
Naomi updates MTV News on the status of the rumoured project Queen Of The Desert, saying she’s not sure if or when it will happen, and that Robert Pattinson is not confirmed for the film just yet:
Jude Law Joining Werner Herzog’s ‘Queen of the Desert’
He’ll star opposite Naomi Watts and Robert Pattinson in the biopic of Gertrude Bell, described as the female Lawrence of Arabia.
Adding another title to its arsenal, Sierra/Affinity will represent foreign rights to Werner Herzog’s Gertrude Bell biopic Queen of the Desert.
Jude Law is joining the cast of the film, which headlines Naomi Watts as Bell and Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia.
Bell — like Lawrence — was an explorer, writer, archaeologist and attaché for the British Empire, credited with helping to catalyze the formation of the Middle East at the dawn of the 20th century. She and Lawrence often crossed paths.
Nick Raslan is producing via his Palmyra Films banner along with Cassian Elwes and Michael Benaroya. Benaroya’s Benaroya Pictures banner will finance the film.
OK Magazine spoke to Naomi at the recent Target 50th Anniversary event, and she mentioned a couple of her upcoming movies to them, so I thought it deserved a separate post:
Red Carpet Confidential: Naomi Watts Talks Robert Pattinson, Princess ‘Diana’
Naomi Watts may be best friends with Nicole Kidman, portray Princess Diana in an upcoming film, and look forward to screen time with Robert Pattinson, but she still shops at Target.
“I love my John Derian plates,” she tells me Tuesday at Target’s 50th Anniversary Celebration held at Center 548 in NYC. “They have dragonflies and ladybugs, and all kinds of bugs all over them. My kids eat from them. They’re great plastic plates.”
As a busy mom to Sasha, 5, and Samuel, 4, whose dad is beau Liev Schreiber, the actress, 44, appreciates the starring role in the Princess Diana movie, called Diana, which is due out next year. (She is still filming.)
In the biographical drama, she dons a wig and prosthetic nose, which take more than an hour to apply in hair-and-makeup.
What has been her favorite look so far?