Though Ridley Scott is hard at work on his sort of prequel, sort of spin-off Alien film Prometheus, that’s not stopping him from lining up his next project. Currently he and his producing partner Giannina Facio have hired screenwriter Jeffrey Caine to turn Gertrude Bell’s life into a film. Brittish-born Bell is most famous for her work in the Middle East. There she was once a spy, only to fall out of favor for advocating Arab self-rule over colonial involvement.

Though never explicit, in the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven it becomes all the more apparent that Ridley Scott was using the period epic film to offer commentary on the Iraq war, and the troubles in the Middle East. Perhaps it’s the nature of the period, where religion was used as an excuse to fight for more property. Through for much of his career Scott’s films could be called apolitical, but something happened post-Gladiator, and his films have had more of an eye toward commentary on the world at large, and especially the Middle East.

He wrestled with modern combat in Black Hawk Down, and covert work in Body of Lies, but it seems that this sort of smuggling is better reserved for something with a historical sweep. Also, post-Gladiator, it’s good to see Scott so re-engaged with directing. He would often go years without projects or films, but recently he’s put out a film a year, from the great (the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down) to modest (American Gangster) to miserable (Robin Hood).

Currently the film is set up under Scott’s production deal with 20th Century Fox. The prospects for this film will hinge on how well the public receives his dip back into the world of Alien.

Would you call Ridley Scott one of the world’s greatest directors, or terribly overrated?