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Werner Herzog Talks ‘Into the Abyss’ Expansions and ‘Queen of the Desert’

Written by on November 8, 2011 

A lot of filmmakers either slow down or fall apart in their senior years; Werner Herzog isn’t one of them. Less than a year away from turning seventy, the German filmmaker has released two critically-acclaimed documentaries over the past six months or so, and he still has plenty of film projects moving along in one stage or the other.

In an interview with ThePlaylist, he talked about plans to use footage that didn’t make it into Into the Abyss, as well as what’s happening with Queen of the Desert. Concerning the former, early descriptions of his newest documentary’s content indicated a wider-reaching portrait of death row inmates than what’s been delivered — but that doesn’t mean this footage will never see the light of day.

You can read a quote on his recently death row-centered career below:

“I’m doing four films on death row inmates. I’m working as an actor in a Hollywood movie, I’m doing my Rogue Film School and I have four or five feature film projects, so it’s coming at me wildly. I never catch up in time.”

This doesn’t wholly indicate where he’s going next, but the “Hollywood movie” is One Shot — directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Tom Cruise — in which he’ll be playing the main villain. That leaves two more films, and the prior details indicated that there are in fact two other subjects. But it might actually be one project, the aptly-titled Death Row that IMDb lists as a TV project. Looks like we’ll have to wait for that to become clearer. Meanwhile, Rogue Film School is his planned filmmaking seminar that you can read about on its official website, and his quote makes the group sound terrifying.

I’m really interested in the next narrative he tackles, since 2009 was kind of a bumpy year for him with Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, both of which resonated as minor works. He has at least one nearly ready to go: Gertrude Bell biopic Queen of the Desert. We first told you about it in February, and there was word that he wanted Naomi Watts to play the famed explorer.

This still holds true, though it’s simply “not financed yet”; the good news is that Watts “would like to do it,” even if nothing is official at the moment. Of course, her actually starring depends on someone getting things going soon — or at least when she isn’t busy — but there’s no hints of such a thing happening. Someone get Megan Ellison on the line.

Would you like to see more of Herzog’s death row material? How about Queen of the Desert?

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