The severe drought of news stories about Ridley Scott signing up to do things has left our nation cracked and sore, wondering if our parched plains would ever feel their moist, life-giving kiss again. But thanks to recent rain dances by a dedicated tribe of Quapaw who are also big Gladiator fans, we can lift our gourds and drink deep of the report that Scott plans to direct a biopic of Gertrude Bell, a female contemporary of T.E. Lawrence who similarly found her life’s calling in the desert as a traveler, spy, cartographer, diplomat, and other adventurous things while working in the Middle East, where she helped to establish the borders and governments of Iraq and Jordan. Clearly it would be a plum, likely Oscar-baiting role for a lucky actress, or Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies drag.
And if this project sounds familiar, it’s because Werner Herzog was plotting his own Gertrude Bell biopic earlier this year, and is thus now in a dead heat with Ridley Scott to see who can get it done first. Hopefully this will spawn some appropriately ominous Herzog quotes on the matter, such as, “All competition is healthy, particularly when it ends with your competitor’s bleached bones being picked clean in the desert.” Or something. We just made that up. Anyway, Herzog may not have reason to worry, because as we implied up top, these days a “Ridley Scott’s next movie” announcement is usually just a stray shower, scattering across the landscape and then disappearing, and rarely ever sticking long enough for something to actually grow.