Homeland star clues up for new role in North-East

The Northern Echo: Damian Lewis with Newcastle University archivist Geraldine Hunwick Damian Lewis with Newcastle University archivist Geraldine Hunwick

TV star Damian Lewis has been researching an upcoming role with a low-key visit to a university library.

The Homeland star is to play opposite Nicole Kidman as the lover of Gertrude Bell in director Werner Herzog's Queen Of The Desert, due for release next year.

Bell was a British traveller, writer, diplomat and spy in the Middle East in the early 20th century.

Lewis visited Newcastle University's Robinson Library to view the Gertrude Bell Archive, a collection of her personal papers, photos and diaries.

Included are letters to and from his character, Major Charles Doughty-Wylie, a married man who had an unconsummated affair with Bell.

News of Monday's visit emerged today when the university posted a photo on its Twitter feed of Lewis posing with a librarian.

Heart-throb Robert Pattinson will also appear in the film as Lawrence of Arabia.

Bell was born into a family of wealthy industrialists and lived in Washington New Hall in what was then County Durham. She died in 1928.

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