Though Deadline's Michael Fleming Jr. undercuts his latest "exclusive" by noting that he's "not certain it's going to happen", let's nonetheless consider the gonzo potential of a fearless performer like James Franco working with the great Werner Herzog. Though it'd be a supporting performance in Herzog's long-in-development Gertrude Bell biopic, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, Franco just seems like Herzog's type of actor, i.e. willing to push so far that you worry for his mental well-being. Obviously, you want to point to Herzog's legendary collaborations with Klaus Kinski, but, for a more recent example of an actor giving his bizarro all for the director, just look at Michael Shannon in the deeply underrated MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE.
Franco would take over the role of Henry Cadogan from the recently-exited Jude Law. Cadogan was a British diplomat with whom Bell fell in love whilst traveling the Middle East in the early 20th century. Naomi Watts will star as Bell, while Robert Pattinson has been handed the unenviable task of playing T.E. Lawrence.
Fleming notes that Herzog and his producers could be in a rush to get this film made, as Ridley Scott has a Gertrude Bell biopic in development at Fox with Angelina Jolie attached. If this ultimately falls through (as Fleming indicates it might), I'm all for Herzog and Franco running off to South America to make AGUIRRE GOES BANANAS.