Ridley Scott planning Gertrude Bell movie. Who's pumped to see Scott tackle the biopic genre?


Image Credit: Kerry Brown; Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection

Ridley Scott’s rep has confirmed to EW that the Gladiator director is hoping to helm a biopic centered on Gertrude Bell, with Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) tapped to pen the project. (Deadline first reported the news.) It’s an interesting bit of news for two reasons: 1) Seeing a picture chronicling the life of the British explorer — who helped establish the modern-day Iraq — would be incredibly relevant, not to mention fascinating, while our troops remain in the war-torn country; and 2) A Gertrude Bell film would be a far less flashy film than we’re used to from the director of Blade Runner and Alien. But, since it’s Scott, it will be also more exciting than we’re used to for a biopic! After all, we’re talking about a woman who also served as a WWI spy. (And I claim I’m busy!)

It’s surprising that throughout Scott’s 30-year-plus career, he has yet to tackle a biopic, instead opting for big-budget epics (see: Gladiator), critically acclaimed sci-fi pictures (see: Alien), and occasional cult fantasies (see: Legend). (Yes, American Gangster was based on a true story, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify the film, which was sold as a crime drama, as a true biopic.) So I’m curious (and excited) to see what he brings to the genre — and hoping he fares better than when he tackled the romantic dramedy for the first time in 2006 with A Good Year. Still, I’m optimistic. This is Scott we’re talking about, a director who has found great success bringing strong women to the big screen. (Er, but forget about that whole G.I. Jane thing.) There is plenty of opportunity for action in a Gertrude Bell biopic, and Scott’s best when he’s playing to those strengths (and staying far away from a vineyard in Provence).

The remaining question now is: Who could play Bell? Since the spy was known for her red hair, it’s hard to go with anyone besides Amy Adams, especially since a Bell picture is prime Oscar bait (and we know how the Academy feels about three-time Oscar nominee Adams). And, no, sorry, Scott, I don’t think Russell Crowe in drag will do.

PopWatchers, are you excited to see Scott tackle the biopic? And who should play Bell?

Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • Bella

    Emma Thompson should play Bell. She would be terrific.

  • Cygnus

    I actually liked A Good Year. Considering Scott and Crowe were coming off the mega success of Gladiator, A Good Year mustve seemed like a soft sigh of contentment to make a lighter, simpler movie. Scott still manages to make a crisp, sharp movie that doesnt have thing blowing up or people being killed left and right.

  • jk

    The two K(C)ates–Winslet or Blanchette.

    • sp

      Yes, to Cate Blanchett .

  • Annie

    Am I one of the few people that liked “G.I. Jane”? Thought Demi was awesome in the film.

  • reel_deal

    Ridley has been hit or miss with non-Science Fiction movies but I hope this is good and that either Kate Winslet or Claire Danes get this role.

  • daryn

    Jennifer Garner immediately sprang to mind while reading this post. I think she would be awesome in that role…

  • shane

    Looking at that photo its pretty obviously Cate Blanchett.

    Jennifer Garner??????????????????????????????

  • ragu

    i thought of Cate Blanchett immediately but may be to old. but dont think jennifer garner is that bad of an idea.

  • Alex

    Another film of his that’s not quite a biopic- am I the only one who remembers “1492: Conquest for Paradise” from 1992? Free streaming on Netflix. Check it out. Time for that film to be rediscovered.

  • tracy bluth

    Don’t forget, Kate, that he had some pretty kicka$$ women in Blade Runner.

  • Chris Serluco

    Tilda Swinton

  • Amanda B.

    I’m glad no one has mentioned Angelina yet.

  • steandric

    With Werner Herzog and the talented Naomi Watts, it will be an Epic.

    With Scott, and whoever it’ll be as Bell, it can only be a good entertaining film at best.


  • Craig

    Cate Blanchett all the way.

  • Bella Woodbine

    Gertrude Bell should be played by none other than Emma Watson. A lovely petite firebrand of a Brit who’ll look great with her back turned to the professor at Oxford…being unworthy to face him as a woman. Blanchett and the others are too predictable.

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