Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Can Robert Pattinson fill the shoes of Peter O’Toole? More important, can he match the defining Lawrence of Arabia when it comes to humanity and gravitas?
You may recall that Werner Herzog has been prepping a film called Queen of the Desert, in which Naomi Watts is set to play English writer, explorer, and archaeologist Gertrude Stein. Now Pattinson has been attached to play T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, in Herzog’s film. Lawrence was a colleague and friend to Bell, and casting Pattinson suggests that he’ll figure prominently in Herzog’s take on Bell’s history.
Variety says that the film aims to shoot late this fall, which would bring to fruition the plan Herzog has discussed since 2010. He originally described the film as “a big epic film set in the desert,” and we don’t have much more from Herzog than that. But his long-standing interest in chronicling important historical figures who aren’t exactly household names leads to some high hopes for this film. (Bell will be perhaps one of Herzog’s best-known subjects, but I imagine most of the details of her life won’t be known to the film’s broad audience.)
Other actors to play T.E. Lawrence over the years, though never in a production so monumental as David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia, include Ian McKellen and Ralph Fiennes. And Herzog isn’t the only major filmmaker to train his eye on Gertrude Bell lately, as Ridley Scott also has a biopic planned.