Recently, when we lobbied for quality biopics (in the wake of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar), none of us went with Gertrude Bell, an explorer and archaeologist who pioneered the formation of the Middle East alongside the legendary T.E. Lawrence. Yet now that Angelina Jolie’s expressing interest in playing Bell, expect the project to rush through the pipeline and land in theaters sooner rather than later.

The Hollywood Reporter says Jolie “is taking steps” toward playing Bell in a feature being developed by Ridley Scott (with the possibility that he’d direct). As the trade mentions, Bell was known as the “Female Lawrence of Arabia,” tearing down stereotypes as she helped establish national borders in the male-dominated Ottoman Empire in the early 20th Century.

Jolie sounds like the ideal choice to play this headstrong historical figure. Wouldn’t you rather see her as Bell in a Scott biopic than attempting to play Cleopatra in that rumored production?

Most of us are just curious to see how Jolie fares as a director. Her debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, recently released a trailer ahead of its Dec. 23 release. As for Scott, he’s circling a number of projects that could keep him from helming a Bell biopic, from an oft-discussed, live-action Monopoly adaptation to a Blade Runner prequel/sequel hybrid. But I’ll be honest. If the Bell story moves forward with Jolie in the lead, I’d feel much better with Scott at the helm … and maybe it would prevent him from making one of those less-interesting-sounding features.

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