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‘Cosmopolis’ Star Robert Pattinson Joins Werner Herzog’s ‘Desert’; David Cronenberg Declares ‘Eastern Promises 2’ Dead

Written by on August 14, 2012 

Robert Pattinson is going to surprise a lot of people when Cosmopolis hits this weekend. The actor’s either been an object of extreme tween desire or internet whipping boy, with little room in-between, but his work here — loose, brave, and even a bit scary — can only change minds. Is it just the guy coming out of his shell, or can we thank David Cronenberg?

One auteur isn’t waiting to find out, with Variety reporting that Pattinson is being roped in to co-lead Queen of the Desert for Werner Herzog. The biopic of British explorer Gertrude Bell, played here by Naomi Watts, has been waiting for some sort of big push for more than nine months now — you know, because of financing — so, as was the case with Cosmopolis, this is the sort of move which could finally get Queen before cameras. Should Variety be correct, it’ll even happen this fall.

He’d be playing none other than T.E. Lawrence, a colleague of Bell’s who, here, “helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq.” It’s a big pair of shoes to step in — one movie centered on the officer is actually pretty well-regarded — and I can already hear people scoffing at the choice in actor. If you haven’t seen his new film? I get it. Come this Friday, those in New York and Los Angeles will have a different perspective.

It’s not all good news on Cosmopolis’ creative front, though, as the final nail in Eastern Promises 2‘s coffin may have just been nailed: At a roundtable for the film, director David Cronenberg told reporters that his long-hyped sequel “is pretty much dead.” Surprising news, given the very recent report that he would direct Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel in the Steven Knight-scripted film, though the director said “just recently it fell apart” — and, he thinks, “for good.” [JoBlo]

It’s more or less stated, unsurprisingly, that Focus Features got cold feet on Eastern Promises 2, and at the last minute; Cronenberg told them “I literally thought I would be in pre-production on it this October.”

Much as I would’ve liked to see more from this engaging crime drama, having seen Cosmopolis last night — most importantly, having deeply loved Cosmopolis — leaves me in a surprisingly solid mood about this little affair. I want to see him do Maps to the Stars, As She Climbed Across the Table, or anything that doesn’t see him revisit strictly “old” territory; that’s what this would be. Even if Cronenberg, being his creative self, certainly would have made something worth chewing on.

Just for fun, here’s what that sequel would have been about:

“Follows the incompetent underboss Kirill (Cassel) thinking that he and his henchman driver Nikolai (Mortensen) really have inherited the throne from his crime-lord father, without knowing that Nikolai is actually a clandestine agent working undercover in Russia’s federal security service.”

Will Pattinson be a good fit for Herzog and Lawrence? What do you make of the Eastern Promises 2 news?

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