Sean Penn's 'Flag Day' Picked Up by MGM Ahead of Cannes Premiere

Dylan Penn stars in the crime drama that also features Josh Brolin and Kathryn Winnick

Brian Welk

Allen Fraser/MGM

MGM has acquired the North American rights to “Flag Day,” the next feature from director Sean Penn that will make its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

Penn stars in the film alongside his daughter, Dylan Penn, in her first lead actress role. MGM plans to release “Flag Day” theatrically later this year as part of its distribution and marketing joint venture with United Artists Releasing.

“Flag Day” is Sean Penn’s return to Cannes after his directorial debut, “The Indian Runner,” which was also released by MGM and had its world premiere there 30 years ago, in 1991.

“Flag Day” is based on a memoir by Jennifer Vogel titled “Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life.” It tells the story of Vogel’s fraught relationship with her father, John Vogel, who lived a double life as a con-man, bank robber and counterfeiter in order to provide for his family.

Jez Butterworth (“Edge of Tomorrow”) and John-Henry Butterworth (“Ford vs. Ferrari”) adapted the book for the screen. Dylan Penn plays Jennifer Vogel in “Flag Day” and Penn plays her father. The movie also stars Josh Brolin, Norbert Leo Butz, Dale Dickey, Eddie Marsan, Bailey Noble, Hopper Jack Penn and Katheryn Winnick.

The film is produced by William Horberg, Jon Kilik and Fernando Sulichin. It also features original songs by Cat Power, Glen Hansard and Eddie Vedder, the latter of whom also wrote original material for Penn’s 2007 film “Into the Wild.”

“We were immediately captivated by Sean’s film – the outstanding performances from the entire cast lead 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. We are immensely proud to share this beautiful film with moviegoing audiences,” Michael De Luca, MGM’s Film Group chairman and Pamela Abdy, MGM’s Film Group president, said in a joint statement.

“I’m particularly grateful that our film has been embraced by MGM,” Sean Penn said. “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,” Horberg and Kilik said. “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.” 

The deal was negotiated by CAA.


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