Michael Radford, who adapted the play, will also direct. The film will mark the second Shakespearean collaboration between actor and director: Radford previously directed Pacino as Shylock in "Merchant of Venice." Barry Navidi will produce the film, which will be shot later this year in Europe.
Producer Navidi told the industry paper, "Al has been offered this role many times over the years, but didn't feel ready. He's ready now. The film will be true to its period, very similar to the classical look of 'Merchant of Venice.' Michael came up with the most brilliant adaptation and Al and I flipped for it."
Among the many men who have played the aging monarch Lear on film are Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles and Paul Scofield.
Al Pacino was most recently on Broadway in Oscar Wilde's Salome: The Reading. He made his Broadway debut in the 1969 production of Does a Tiger Wear Necktie?, earning a Tony Award for his performance. He scored another Tony for his role in the 1977 revival of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. Prior to Salome, the stage and film actor was last on Broadway in 1996 in a revival of Hughie, which he also directed. Pacino's other Broadway credits include Camino Real, King Richard III, American Buffalo and Chinese Coffee. He received the Academy Award for his work in the film "Scent of a Woman."