Berlin: Werner Herzog on What "Hasn't Been Discovered Enough" in Nicole Kidman

The director admits his first feature with a female protagonist made him realize, "I should have done that all my life, much earlier in my career as a filmmaker."

Veteran director Werner Herzog admitted that his Berlin-debuting, Nicole Kidman-starring Queen of the Desert reflects both his personal and professional life and taught him a monumental professional lesson.

Herzog sat down with The Hollywood Reporter at the Berlin Film Festival to discuss the project that boasts a female protagonist (a first for the director) and was filmed in the desert. 

"It did not occur to me while I was doing the film that this was the first time I did a film about a female protagonist," the director said. "And it dawns on me I should have done that all my life, much earlier in my career as a filmmaker."

Queen of the Desert tells the story of Gertrude Bell, an explorer and adventurous Brit whose influence in the Middle East rose following World War 1.

Kidman's leading lady performance struck a cord in the director.

"Nicole Kidman has something in her that hasn't been discovered enough," Herzog said. "In fact, I do not know any film in the last decade with a performance of any woman in a film of her caliber. And this was a film where she's unprecedented in a way."

The German film director and his team braved a sandstorm during filming, which he says was "worthwhile," and commented that he is "one of the very few" happily married men he knows. After watching the film, the director recognized that Kidman and co-star James Franco's performance is a reflection of his marriage.

"My life is somehow appearing in the films," Herzog says. "There is sometimes no distinction between life and cinema."