Director Werner Herzog is looking to get his Gertrude Bell biopic Queen of the Desert back on track. The film has Naomi Watts set to star as Bell, who worked extensively in the middle east and was responsible for establishing what would become the modern framework for Jordan and Iraq. She worked for British Intelligence during World War I, and was key in the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and subsequent founding of Iraq. Jude Law had previously been set to co-star, but he subsequently left the project due to scheduling conflicts, providing quite the stumbling block for a production that was looking to start filming last month.
Now Deadline reports that James Franco is circling the project, in which he would fill the role that Law vacated. There’s no guarantee that he’ll sign on (Franco is, to say the least, a busy guy), but if he does then that would put Queen of the Desert back on the path towards production. Robert Pattison is also attached to star in the film as T.E. Lawrence.