Casting Net: Robert Pattinson to play Lawrence of Arabia. Plus: Tobey Maguire, Dermot Mulroney, Robin Wright

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Robert Pattinson will play T.E. Lawrence — i.e. Lawrence of Arabia — in Queen of the Desert, a biopic of English writer and explorer Gertrude Bell (Naomi Watts), who worked with Lawrence to help establish the nation states of Jordan and Iraq after World War I. Director Werner Herzog also penned the screenplay, so it’s sure to be a lighthearted laugh riot. [Variety]

• Tobey Maguire is attached to produce and star in Z for Zachariah, an adaptation of the Robert C. O’Brien novel about a young woman who, thanks to the unique weather patterns of the small, self-contained valley where she lives, believes she is the sole survivor of a nuclear apocalypse. Maguire will play the scientist who comes upon the woman’s home. Craig Zobel (Compliance) is set to direct from a script by Nissar Modi. [Variety]

Dermot Mulroney is the latest actor to sign on to the star-studded feature film version of Tracy Letts‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County. He’ll play Steve, the too-slick-for-his-own-good fiancé to Juliette Lewis‘ Karen, the youngest daughter of Weston family doyenne Violet (Meryl Streep). Julia RobertsChris CooperAbigail Breslin, and Margo Martindale round out the rest of the highly dysfunctional family. John Wells (The Company Men) is directing from Wells’ screenplay. [Deadline]

• Robin Wright is negotiating to join Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams in A Most Wanted Man, based on the John le Carré spy novel about a Chechnian Muslim who finds himself embroiled in the War on Terror when he sneaks into Germany. Anton Corbijn (The American) is directing; Andrew Bovell (Edge of DarknessLantana) penned the script. [Variety]

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