Robert Pattinson to play Lawrence of Arabia in "Queen of the Desert"

Robert Pattinson attends the premiere of "Cosmopolis" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Aug. 13, 2012. Pictures: Robert Pattinson NEXT: Robert Pattinson AP Photo/Starpix, Dave Allocca

Robert Pattinson attends the premiere of "Cosmopolis" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Aug. 13, 2012.
AP/Starpix

(CBS News) Robert Pattinson is set to play Lawrence of Arabia in Werner Herzog's film "Queen of the Desert."

According to Variety, the "Twilight" actor will play British army officer T.E. Lawrence in the film, which also stars Naomi Watts as English writer Gertrude Bell.

Pictures: Robert Pattinson
Pictures: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart

The film will chronicle Bell's life as a writer, archeologist, explorer, cartographer and political officer for the British Empire, Variety reports. She was one of the first female graduates of Oxford University at the turn of the 20th century and helped define the borders of Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia during her travels through the Middle East.

Bell and Lawrence were good friends and helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq, the report added.

Peter O'Toole first played Lawrence 50 years ago, in David Lean's 1962 classic "Lawrence of Arabia."

Pattinson, 26, has been making the media rounds this week promoting his film "Cosmopolis," in the wake of Kristen Stewart's admission last month that she cheated on him.

He appeared on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Monday, where he and the hostshared some ice cream and Pattinson joked he needed to hire a publicist. He again avoided specifically discussing Stewart during an interview Wednesday on "Good Morning America," where, continuing the food trend, he was given a box of cereal.

"I've never been interested in trying to sell my personal life and that's really the only reason people bring it up," Pattinson said on "GMA." "The reason you go on to TV is to promote movies. That's the only way to do it."

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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