Just days before "Cosmopolis" opens in limited release, star Robert Pattinson has joined the cast of Werner Herzog's indie "Queen of the Desert," which will star Naomi Watts as English writer Gertrude Bell.
Pic will chronicle Bell's life as a writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political attache for the British Empire. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford at the turn of the 20th century, she traveled through the Middle East, defining the borders of Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Pattinson is attached to play T.E. Lawrence, a British Army officer whose writing earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, on whom David Lean's classic 1962 epic is based. Lawrence was a good friend to Bell over the years, as the duo helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq.
Cassian Elwes and Nick Raslan (Herzog's "Rescue Dawn") are producing the pic, which is aiming to start production in late fall.
Outside of the "Twilight" franchise that catapulted him to fame, Pattinson has avoided blockbusters to work on challenging indie projects with acclaimed directors. After wrapping Francis Lawrence's adaptation of "Water for Elephants" and the lusty period pic "Bel Ami," Pattinson chose to work with David Cronenberg on "Cosmopolis," which opens Friday. Thesp is set to star opposite Guy Pearce in David Michod's Aussie drama "The Rover," as well as the indie thriller "Mission: Blacklist," which chronicles the hunt for Saddam Hussein.
Pattinson is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, Curtis Brown Group and attorney Robert Offer.
THR adds "A fall shoot in Jordan and England is being eyed"
Robert Pattinson is attached to play Lawrence of Arabia in Queen of the Desert, Werner Herzog’s biopic of Gertrude Bell.
Naomi Watts is starring as Bell described as the female Lawrence of Arabia for the impact the English woman had in the Middle East and her work in establishing what would become the modern framework for Jordan and Iraq. She was an explorer, writer, archeologist and political attache and during World War I, worked for British Intelligence.
Pattinson will play T.E. Lawrence, the archeologist-turned-British Army officer who played key roles in Middle Eastern revolutions in the same time period and became close friends with Bell. Peter O'Toole portrayed the explorer in the 1962 classic.
Herzog wrote the screenplay. Nick Raslan is producing with Cassian Elwes.
A fall shoot in Jordan and England is being eyed.
The move keeps Pattinson firmly in the world of independent film. One of the world’s most recognizable stars, the actor is this week promoting Cosmopolis, his drama directed by David Cronenberg. He is set to star with Guy Pearce in the post-apocalyptic indie The Rover as well as Mission: Blacklist, an indie thriller about Saddam Hussein’s capture.