Charles Doughty-Wylie: Rogue Steeped in Romance


“Write to me there…while I am alone, let’s be alone.” – Charles Doughty-Wylie

Damian Lewis is set to hit limited big screens September 15, incarnated as Charles (Richard) Doughty-Wylie in Queen of the Desert. What can we expect or hope to see? As discussed in Georgina Howell’s book, Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, the love affair between CDW and Gertrude Bell was lived largely on paper and pen. The two rarely spent time together, and when they did it was often in mixed company. Among that mixed company they would be the ones last at the table or next to the fire, still talking after the party had drifted off, still exchanging ideas and observations about the places in the Middle East they both had the privilege to travel and explore. Before GB started her diaries for Richard, which I spoke of in my last post, they had a rich correspondence. In these letters, they spoke to each other and about each other with a lavishly poetic vocabulary that leads to all kinds of imaginings on what we’ll see between Damian Lewis and Nicole Kidman enacting this couple on screen. Continue reading “Charles Doughty-Wylie: Rogue Steeped in Romance”

Queen of the Desert, some notes

As a “hyper-engaged” fan, one truly enters a state of mourning when one’s favorite is no longer on one’s screen. We know what he’s working on now: American Buffalo on stage in London’s West End. And we (the royal we) know we won’t be able to see him unless the play comes to the States and the stars align for us to get to where it’s playing. (Damianista IS seeing the play though, lucky so-and-so she is…so stay tuned for her story on seeing Damian as Teach, live). And we know his next project to start filming June is Billions on Showtime. So there we are with what’s he doing now and what he will be doing soon.

Now for what he has already done and what hasn’t made it to screen yet. We know that Damian Lewis has completed several films that are waiting on distribution. A film recently announced to have a U.S. distributor and set for limited release in September is Queen of the Desert, the story of Gertrude Bell, the female counterpart to that great explorer who got not one but two (or possibly more? ) films made about him, T.E. Lawrence, who we know as Peter O’Toole’s first, then Ralph Fiennes’ (and now Robert Pattison’s) Lawrence of Arabia. This post will be some theorizing on what we may be seeing in the film Queen of the Desert. Hopeful, longing, desirous theorizing, much like the letters Gertrude Bell (played by Nicole Kidman) exchanged with Charles Doughty-Wylie (played by Damian Lewis) for the few years of their problematic courtship. Continue reading “Queen of the Desert, some notes”

Why Damian Lewis should play Steve McQueen (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Cannes Film Festival 2015 starts this week and with it comes the possibility of learning important particulars about a certain dramatic feature length biopic on the life of Steve McQueen. We already know that a documentary about Steve McQueen’s experiences filming the racing film Le Mans is being screened at Cannes. We can only imagine that an announcement about a new biopic, still in the infancy of development, if there is an announcement at all, will be made around the screening of The Man and Le Mans.

I posted a while back about why Damian Lewis would make the perfect Steve McQueen. There’s no end to the visual evidence in support of my argument, so I’ve found more to share. Continue reading “Why Damian Lewis should play Steve McQueen (UPDATE)”

Master of Prophecies, Master of Phantoms, Master of Fate

00mainThe final episode of this fantastic series starts with Anne served up on a table, appetites of all her enemies at the ready, and Cromwell at the head of the table brandishing the knife. It’s Cromwell’s vision of himself and the metaphor for what he’s about to do to the Queen. Thus the episode “Master of Phantoms” starts with the masterful Cromwell ushering us into the final movement of this riveting and memorable drama, colored in broad strokes by a pervasive sense of inevitability and doom.

The conceit with which Mantel started Cromwell’s mission within Henry’s court, that posse of gentlemen dramatizing leading beloved Worsley into hell, is now going to come to a head. That posse is going to get what’s coming to them, in a sequence of events perhaps a bit too convenient, but compelling nonetheless. Continue reading “Master of Prophecies, Master of Phantoms, Master of Fate”

Murder of Crows

Don’t you just love when history comes in a nice convenient story arc? Wolf Hall, episode 5 is the climax leading up to the denouement of the stories told in Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies. We all know how this is going to end, yet, here we are still watching, rapt, captivated by a fascinating story of a fascinating time told and performed impeccably by the best ensemble cast imaginable.

In this episode, titled “Crows”, we see leonine Henry’s frustrations coming to a head and wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Cromwell being shown his place in the realm. And we see Anne slowly and painfully getting prepared to be escorted to the gallows. Continue reading “Murder of Crows”