'Twilight' thesp to play the son-in-law of religious leader

EXCLUSIVE: Having recently wrapped “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part II,” Rami Malek has signed on for Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama.

Malek will play the son-in-law of the main character, the creator of a new faith that closely mirrors Scientology (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Joaquin Phoenix co-stars as an alcoholic drifter who becomes his right-hand man and disciple.

Hoffman and Amy Adams have a sassy, 19-year-old daughter in the film; Malek will play her husband, Clark.

Other confirmed cast members include Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons and David Warshofsky.

The Weinstein Company has worldwide distribution rights to the Annapurna Pictures-financed period pic, which starts production later this month.

Anderson and his longtime producing partners JoAnne Sellar and Daniel Lupi will produce through Anderson’s Ghoulardi Film Co., along with Annapurna’s Megan Ellison. Ted Schipper is exec producing.

Malek, who recently starred in HBO’s “The Pacific,” will soon be seen alongside Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in “Larry Crowne,” which Universal opens July 1.

Thesp is best known for playing Ahkmenrah in the “Night at the Museum” pics — though that may change once he’s seen as the powerful Egyptian vampire Benjamin in the final installment of Summit’s “Twilight” franchise, due for release in November 2012.

Malek is repped by WME and Kyle Fritz Management.

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