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Robert Pattinson, Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia,

Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Entertainment Pictures

Robert Pattinson is putting his Twilight days behind him...by pulling a Peter O'Toole?

After starring for director David Cronenberg in Cosmopolis, which hits theaters Friday, E! News has learned the British heartthrob is now setting his sights on his most challenging role to date: playing a young T.E. Lawrence opposite Naomi Watts in Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert.

A rep for the film's producer, Nick Raslan, confirmed that Pattinson has been offered the part in a biopic about famed English writer Gertrude Bell that chronicles her days as a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political attaché for the British Empire in the early 20th century.

Lawrence, of course, was the eccentric British army officer hero of David Lean's 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia who helped lead the Arabs in ridding the Middle East of the Ottoman Empire. The character earned O'Toole the first of his eight Oscar nominations.

Queen will focus on Lawrence's relationship with Bell, with whom he helped to lay the foundations for what would eventually become the modern states of Jordan and Iraq.

Herzog, the acclaimed German auteur behind such '70s classics as Aguirre: Wrath of God and more recently 2006's Rescue Dawn with Christian Bale, wrote the screenplay.

Shooting is slated to get underway in Jordan and England this fall. Pattinson will take a break, however, to promote the final installment in his ever-popular vampire saga as Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 unspools on Nov. 16.

The 26-year-old thesp meanwhile is making the media rounds this week on behalf of Cosmopolis and doing his best to avoid answering questions about his personal life, specifically his feelings about Kristen Stewart cheating on him.

No doubt Queen of the Desert will provide a welcome distraction if he takes it.

—Reporting by Marc Malkin