When a new movie based on British adventurer T.E. Lawrence was announced last year eyebrows were raised as Robert Pattinson was cast to take on the role of Lawrence, 60 years after Peter O'Toole played the role in David Lean's iconic Lawrence of Arabia.
The 1962 epic earned O'Toole his first of eight Academy Award nominations and is widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed movies and performances from O'Toole and co-star Omar Sharif, in movie history.
Directed by art house icon Werner Herzog, the movie co-stars Nicole Kidman as writer/explorer Gertrude Bell and is said to focus on her relationship with Lawrence, rather than a straight remake of the 1960s classic.
Rob gets suited and booted to film Maps to the Stars (Photo: WENN)
Sadly, O'Toole passed away before he could see Pattinson tackling his iconic role. It was confirmed last night, December 15, the actor has died age 81 after a prolonged illness, at a London hospital.
Before his death he had commented on the decision to bring the British Army officer back to the big screen, admitting it was almost inevitable a re-make would be made.
“Well, they were bound to get around to it sooner or later,” he told The Telegraph last August, but insisted it wouldn't be a patch on the original.
“Well, of course it won’t," he laughed when asked about the new version.
Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in David Lean's Lawrence Of Arabia (WENN)
And what of Pattinson taking on his iconic character? Despite being one of the most famous people on the planet, O'Toole was completely unaware of Pattinson-mania.
"Who?" he reportedly asked after a long pause.
While Rob might not have the same acclaim as the eight times nominated actor, the London born star at 27, is three years younger than O'Toole when he took on the role age 30.
So could the magic it worked for the Irish born, Leeds lad also help Rob leave behind his past as a teenage heart-throb?
Filming on the movie is set to begin next year, but with the passing of the acting legend, will it over shadow or enhance Pattinson's performance. For a star who is making shrewd career decisions, working with acclaimed directors such as David Cronenberg and avoiding blockbuster, the role could prove to be as important as it was for O'Toole in 1962.