MGM has taken North American distribution rights to Sean Penn’s upcoming Flag Day, which is making its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in July. Penn directs and also stars with his daughter Dylan Penn in what we’re already hearing is a star-making role for the actress. The studio will release Flag Day via its marketing-distribution joint venture United Artists Releasing later this year.
The pic is based on Jennifer Vogel’s memoir Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life and tells the story of the author’s coming of age, who Dylan Penn plays, over two decades while navigating a fraught relationship with her beloved, career criminal father, con man John Vogel, played by Sean Penn. Jez Butterworth (Ford v. Ferrari) adapted Vogel’s book for the screen.
Flag Day reps Sean Penn’s 30th anniversary at Cannes: His directorial debut, the MGM film The Indian Runner, made its world premiere on the Croisette in 1991. Sean Penn won Best Actor at Cannes in 1997 for She’s So Lovely, which was penned by the late John Cassavetes.
Flag Day also stars Josh Brolin (Dune), Norbert Leo Butz (Fosse/Verndon), Dale Dickey (Hell or High Water), Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan), Bailey Noble (True Blood), Hopper Jack Penn (War Machine) and Katheryn Winnick (Big Sky). The movie is produced by William Horberg (The Queen’s Gambit), Jon Kilik (Da 5 Bloods) and Fernando Sulichin (Snowden), and features original songs by Cat Power, Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard. Vedder previously wrote music and songs for Sean Penn’s 2007 movie Into the Wild.
“We were immediately captivated by Sean’s film – the outstanding performances from the entire cast led of course by Dylan and Sean, Jennifer’s incredible life story, and the great care the entire filmmaking team took in bringing this true tale to the big screen after many years of willing it to be told,” said Michael De Luca, MGM’s Film Group chairman and Pamela Abdy, MGM’s Film Group president, in a statement. “We are immensely proud to share this beautiful film with moviegoing audiences.”
Added Penn: “I’m particularly grateful that our film has been embraced by MGM. Mike DeLuca and his team are among the last true believers that, along with the advent of streaming, there remains a theatrical value to character driven films. I’ve known and admired Mike for many years, and there’s no one I’d rather throw the dice with.”
“Hearing the love and enthusiasm that Mike and his team at MGM have for bringing the movie to audiences was especially gratifying for the amazing good karma it represents. He was the first person we spoke to about developing the book with Jez as a movie for Sean Penn many moons ago. Dreams do come true,” said Horberg and Kilik.
The deal was negotiated by CAA Media Finance.