Queen of the Desert costars James Franco, Nicole Kidman and Damian Lewis posed together on the red carpet at the film’s premiere at the Berlin Film Festival Friday night.

‘Queen Of The Desert’ Premiere

In Queen of the Desert, Kidman stars as British explorer, writer, archaeologist and political attaché for the British Empire Gertrude Bell.  Prior to taking on the role, Kidman had no reference point for the woman she was about to portray – and writer/director Werner Herzog was of little use in helping her learn about her.

“I tried to get Werner to give me a history lesson and he was like, ‘Nicole, this is too extensive, I cannot do this,'” Kidman said during a press conference. “I knew nothing about her. That’s partly the reason I wanted to make the film, because I wanted people to know about her. We talk about Laurence of Arabia, but we’ve never heard of Gertrude Bell.”

Despite not knowing much about Bell to begin with, early reviews suggest that Kidman does a capable job of tackling the complicated character – though her fair complexion isn’t the most believable for the explorer.

“Trekking across dunes, salt-crusted planes and rocky terrain for much of the duration, Nicole Kidman shows no sign of ever having spent an hour in the sun or gone a day without a good moisturizer,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney. “But she carries the film more than competently, even if she never quite sheds her movie-star baggage.”

Franco plays Tehran embassy diplomat Henry Cadogen in Queen of the Desert, while Lewis plays British Consul General Major Charles Doughty-Wylie – both love interests of Kidman’s Bell.

Queen of the Desert is slated for release in the U.S. sometime in 2015.

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