The first, long-awaited trailer for Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert opens sort of like a more gentle Mad Max: Fury Road, with Nicole Kidman explaining that her world is “life and fire.” It’s the true story of Gertrude Bell, a woman so suffocated by civil life that she strikes out into the desert of Tehran in the 1920s, where she becomes integral in shaping the politics of the Middle East.

Bell was a historian, author and spy for the British Secret Service, and she struggled to find a suitable mate — as you can see in the trailer, she rejects the overtures of a few men, including Homeland star Damian Lewis, and instead takes James Franco to bed (fair). Bell sets off into the desert, warning those close to her to not search for her, even if she goes missing for months.

In true Herzog fashion, the story finds a refined person exploring the freedom of nature and of people often perceived as less civilized. But where most of the acclaimed director’s films have centered on men, this one follows a determined, unwavering woman, which should make for a rather interesting story. Here’s the official synopsis (via the Berlin International Film Festival):

The film tells the story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) who, as historian, novelist and member of the British secret service, played a decisive role around 1920 in setting the course for the new political order in the Middle East. As an educated young woman, for whom no suitable husband can be found in England, she journeys to Tehran. After a tragic love affair with diplomat and inveterate gambler Henry Cadogan, she decides to give up on her private life and discover the region as an explorer. Before the backdrop of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire she learns languages, translates literature, meets with Muslim dignitaries in Cairo, Basra and Baghdad and earns their trust through her pluck and respect. Predestined to be a mediator between the Orient and the British Empire, she contributes to defining the new borders in the region after the First World War. And then love enters her life once again.

Werner Herzog uses the vast desert landscapes to depict the architecture of his characters’ souls. A panoramic epic about the woman who has gone down in history as ‘the female Lawrence of Arabia’.

Queen of the Desert also stars Robert Pattinson, and will arrive in theaters sometime this year.