EXCLUSIVE: Phillip Noyce is concluding a deal to direct multiple episodes American Lion, the six-hour mini-series event to air on HBO next year. The project is expected to go before the cameras in October with Sean Penn portraying Andrew Jackson. The mini-series, from Facebook’s head of market development Matt Jacobson, Narcos co-creators Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard and Lionsgate Television, is based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by historian Jon Meacham. The producers are also using Robert V. Remini’s biography of Jackson as additional source material for the project.
Jackson, the 7th U.S. President, nicknamed “Old Hickory” led a very controversial presidency. Prior to his rise in politics, the quick-tempered Jackson often challenged others to duels and in one of them, he was struck in the chest and barely survived. He carried that bullet in his chest for the remainder of his life. He later survived an assassination attempt when his would-be killer’s gun misfired not once, but twice. Jackson would become known as the “People’s President,” mainly because he won the popular vote. However, he lobbied fiercely to abolish the electoral college because he believed the process to be corrupt.
Most Native Americans — especially the Cherokee — loathe the man to this day because as President, he signed the Indian Removal Act which was basically just a land grab that forced people from their homes and many to their death as they were forced to march on foot from the Deep South to reservations. In fact, it was so heinous that many think it’s shameful that this country ever allowed Jackson’s face on our currency.
Noyce, who has directed a slew of features over the years (Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games), has been doing more television in recent years. He shot the first episode of Roots, a remake of one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time, for A&E and also directed Warrior for NBC. He is repped by UTA and Fineman Entertainment.