Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and ‘Bourne Identity’ Helmer Negotiate ‘Fair Game’

As always seems to be the case following the Oscars we get news of Oscar winners and their upcoming big roles. Perhaps that’s why Mickey Rourke lost to Sean Penn last night as he was lining up projects over a month prior to the big show. Earlier today we learned Slumdog Millionaire cutie Freida Pinto had been employed by Woody Allen for his next film and now Variety tells us Sean Penn may have found his next project with none other than Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and it’s not a sequel to Jumper.

The film is called Fair Game and Liman is set to direct from a script by Jez and John Butterworth based on Valerie Plame Wilson’s memoir “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House”. Wilson retired from the CIA in January 2006 and the description of the book at Amazon reads as such:

On July 6, 2003, four months after the United States invaded Iraq, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s now historic op-ed, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” appeared in The New York Times. A week later, conservative pundit Robert Novak revealed in his newspaper column that Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a covert CIA agent. The public disclosure of that classified information spurred a federal investigation and led to the trial and conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, and the Wilsons’ civil suit against top officials of the Bush administration. Much has been written about the “Valerie Plame” story, but Valerie herself has been silent, until now. Some of what has been reported about her has been frighteningly accurate, serving as a pungent reminder to the Wilsons that their lives are no longer private. And some has been completely false – distorted characterizations of Valerie and her husband and their shared integrity.

The film will be about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson with Naomi Watts already set to star as Wilson.

Now, Penn isn’t a lock for this one even though he is in negotiations to play Plame’s husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a role once rumored to be filled by Russell Crowe. The fact William Pohlad’s River Road is financing the project is being looked at as a plus as Pohlad produced the upcoming Penn feature Tree of Life which is directed by Terrence Malick and co-stars Brad Pitt as well as was a producer and financier for Into the Wild, which Penn directed to two Oscar nominations.

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