EXCLUSIVE: I’m not certain it’s going to happen as they try to sort scheduling issues, but Werner Herzog’s Queen Of The Desert has James Franco circling the role that Jude Law was going to play. If you recall, Herzog lined up Naomi Watts and Robert Pattinson to star in the story of Gertrude Bell’s life as a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the 20th Century. Law had signed on to the film, but exited awhile ago to do the play Henry V, and the project ground to a halt. Getting a commitment from Franco would put the picture back on track. Stay tuned. There is kind of a race on Gertrude Bell, as Ridley Scott also has one that Angelina Jolie was eyeing. But it looks like Scott is working hard on his Biblical film Exodus at Fox–Christian Bale is eyeing the role of Moses–and Jolie is preparing to direct Unbroken, the unbelievable life of Olympian sprinter-turned WWII POW Louis Zamperini. So both of them are certainly preoccupied.
EXCLUSIVE: Angelina Jolie is in talks to star in an untitled big-scale movie written and directed by Luc Besson. Besson currently has The Lady in the Oscar mix, but this film sounds like a closer cousin to early Besson efforts like The Professional, La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element.
I’m told that there are serious talks going on for Jolie to star next spring in a dramatic thriller that is rooted in true scientific elements. Besson’s EuropaCorp developed it and will co-finance, and negotiations are already underway with a studio for domestic distribution. The Besson film would be Jolie’s next as an actress, and it would come before she teams with director Ridley Scott on a historical epic about Gertrude Bell that The Constant Gardener scribe Jeffrey Caine is currently rewriting. I’m told there’s a high likelihood that both films will land at the same studio.