CASTING: Deadline reports James Franco in talks to replace Jude Law in Queen of the Desert

UPDATE: Adding commentary from The Playlist:

Green light power is everything so that often means a top-shelf or namebrand cast to light the fuse. Werner Herzogseemingly nailed it with the power trio of Robert Pattinson, Naomi Watts and Jude Law for his would-be next narrative feature, “Queen of The Desert” — the true story of Gertrude Bell (Watts), the traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.

So this should be more than enough, no? But with what one assumes could be expense location shoots in far off locations outside the U.S., “Queen of The Desert” hasn’t really moved forward. In fact, it seemed very up in the air in the last few months. Watts herself suggested the movie was on hold and Jude Law told us in a recent interview that he was likely unable to participate likely because his scheduling window had closed.

And that’s exactly the case for Law. Deadline reports, while far from a done deal, James Franco is currently in consideration and in talks to replace the “Sherlock Holmes” sidekick. There’s still no word on who he would play, but the trade says if they can manage Franco’s schedule and get him on board, it will likely get the picture back on track. Ridley Scott could have derailed the whole thing if he got to his Gertrude Bell project with Angelina Jolie first, but he seems preoccupied with his biblical Moses epic that will star Christian Bale.

Fingers crossed for Herzog, this is one we’ve been looking forward to for years when he first unveiled it to us.

Deadline is reporting some circling happening with James Franco potentially replacing Jude Law in Queen of the Desert:

James FrancoI’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.

We’ll keep you guys posted as this develops!