Sean Penn Playing Famous Story Editor Max Perkins in 'Genius'
by Ethan Anderton
August 4, 2010
In his preparation to return to acting after a self-imposed sabbatical, Sean Penn has been lining up a fair share of upcoming roles. We recently heard he was going to hit some waves for a biopic about iconic surfer Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz. But now he's moving into completely different territory as THR reports the praised yet publicly abrasive actor will star in a film called Genius, telling the story of literary editor Max Perkins who worked with legendary authors like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. River Road Ent. producer/financier Bill Pohlad will finally direct the drama after many others have tried before.
Pohlad hasn't directed a feature since 1990 (something called Old Explorers), so this seems like a risk, but he's been in the business as a producer (he's worked on films like Brokeback Mountain and Into the Wild) long enough to know what's going on, even if his vision hasn't exactly been prominent on-screen. Previously, directors like Michael London and Lawrence Kasdan have been attached through various incarnations, but it never got off the ground. This has more sure footing because Penn and Pohlad have a history not only with Into the Wild, but other recent soon-to-be-released films starring Penn like Fair Game and The Tree of Life.
The story comes from A. Scott Berg's biography Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, which chronicles the life and work of the eccentric editor as he found him at the Scribner publishing house in New York overseeing some of literature's most famous works from the best of the best authors (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, etc). The bulk of the story will deal with Perkins relationship with a younger Thomas Wolfe, with lots of cameos from other known literary types. It doesn't sound like the most thrilling of stories, but if directors have been trying to get it off the ground for awhile, there's got to be something worthwhile in the story. Sound good?