One of the films we've been expecting to land on the annually secretive Telluride line-up this year is Werner Herzog's “Queen of the Desert” with Nicole Kidman. A period piece chronicle of the life of traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer and political attaché Gertrude Bell, the film sounds like it could be a meaty opportunity for Kidman, and if a studio were to bite at these late stages and prime a strategy, it might even be a potential awards player. Alas, the film won't be ready for the early festival circuit, at the very least, and that includes Telluride.
Here is the scoop from the horse's mouth, producer Cassian Elwes:
We've had technical issues in the finishing of queen and it's not ready for tiff or telluride. We don't want to show a work in progress
– cassian elwes (@cassianelwes) August 11, 2014
The film also stars the ubiquitous James Franco and “Twilight” alum Robert Pattinson.
I expect Herzog will still make the trip to Colorado himself, though, as he always does; with a Sept. 5 birthday, it always makes for a happy early birthday treat for the director, who has attended the fest nearly every year in the four decades since Tom Luddy and company screened “Aguirre the Wrath of God” and toasted him with a medallion tribute. And at last year's 40th annual edition, a wonderful new venue was unveiled and named in his honor (where an newly mastered version of “Aguirre” was screened).
As mentioned previously, the usual speculation this year is yielding Sony Classics expectations (“Foxcatcher,” “Mr. Turner,” maybe “Whiplash,” probably “Leviathan”) as well as “The Imitation Game” and “Rosewater” (both noted as “Canadian premieres” in Toronto's announcement. Both “Birdman” and “Wild” from Fox Searchlight are also expected. But it still seems to me that there's an opportunity for a big movie to drop there.
Psst, Sony, is “Fury” finished yet? Do you really want to wait until AFI Fest? Ahem.