fair_game_movie_image_sean_penn_naomi_watts_01As Deadline told you last night, Summit Entertainment has closed a deal for North American distribution rights to Fair Game, the politically charged film about Valerie Plame, whose CIA status was leaked to journalists by Bush Administration insiders. Naomi Watts plays Plame and Sean Penn plays husband Joseph Wilson, who wrote op-ed pieces charging that intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was manipulated to enable the invasion of Iraq. The Doug Liman-directed drama premieres in competition at the Cannes Film Festival next month, but it had been a hot potato. Warner Bros originally set up the project but dropped it. River Road, Participant Media and Imagenation stepped into the breach to finance the film. It is bound to create a stir in Cannes, which welcomed several films that bash American institutions, including the Oliver Stone-directed Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. While several outlets chased the film in an auction held by CAA, Summit was a logical choice: the company is already brokering deals for international distribution on the picture and has acquired distribution rights in Italy, Benelux, Scandanavia, Japan and CIS. Summit also steered the hot-button film The Hurt Locker to an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Jez Butterworth wrote the script, and Bill Pohlad produced with Janet and Jerry Zucker, Akiva Goldsman and Liman. The film was based on Plame’s memoir and Wilson’s book Politics of Truth.