Variety reported that the 77-year-old actor — who starred in "Lawrence of Arabia" (for which he got an Academy Award nomination), "Funny Girl" and "Dr. Zhivago" — will play Lear, which is to be set in Egypt.
Egyptian writer Khaled Al Khamissi, who wrote the novel "Taxi," an international bestseller, will write the screenplay.
The film is being developed and produced by Frederic Sichler's Amana Creative, who was once CEO of France's StudioCanal.
Sichler is co-producing "King Lear" with Egypt's Misr Intl. and perhaps Egypt National Broadcast Corp.
"Shakespeare is an icon of European culture, Al Khamissi represents the best of a new generation of Arab writers, and Omar Sharif has been a bridge between our two worlds for half a century," producer Sichler said. A director will be announced; shooting should begin by late 2010.
King Lear is the famed Shakespeare tragedy of an aging king who decides to divide his domain in three, among his daughters. When he denies his good daughter her share, it becomes his — and his kingdom's — undoing.