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Werner Herzog Wants to Crown Naomi Watts Queen of the Desert

If he’d simply made Aguirre: The Wrath of God and called it quits ... dayenu. But thankfully, even at 68, Werner Herzog is still at it: Vulture has learned that Herzog’s written a new drama called Queen of the Desert and is in serious discussions with Naomi Watts about starring.

At the center of Queen is Gertrude Bell, a real-life British woman who was alternately a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. While only a commoner herself, Bell was nonetheless a kingmaker, helping found the modern states of Iraq and Jordan and installing their first rulers, King Abdullah and King Faisal.

Watts is now busy filming The Impossible (about the 2004 tsunami that leveled much of Thailand and killed hundreds of thousands) with Ewan McGregor, and after it wraps in March, she'll immediately segue into Clint Eastwood’s forthcoming biopic of J. Edgar Hoover this spring. But we hear that Herzog’s Queen is very much something Watts is interested in doing, and that after taking a short break when J. Edgar wraps, she'll likely want to ring Herzog’s bell.

There's no studio involved yet, but we can't imagine getting indie financing with the Oscar-nominated Watts attached and the Oscar-nominated Herzog behind the camera should be too difficult.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images