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Sean Penn may play editor Max Perkins

August 5, 2010 |  6:21 am


Actor Sean Penn is in discussions to play editor Maxwell Perkins, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film, called "Genius," is based on A. Scott Berg's 1987 biography, "Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius." From 1910 until his death in 1947, Perkins was an editor at Charles Scribner's Sons, where he worked closely with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe.

"An editor does not add to a book. At best he serves as handmaiden to an author," Perkins once said. "A writer's best work comes entirely from himself."

Berg is to be an executive producer on the film, which has been in the works previously without ever making it to the screen. In its current iteration, it is slated to be directed by Bill Pohlad, who produced and helped finance Penn's film "Into the Wild." Pohlad's production company, River Road Entertainment, has been a part of several literary film projects, including "Into the Wild," "Food Inc." and "Brokeback Mountain."

Are we ready to cast Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Wolfe yet? I'm thinking James Urbaniak as the 6-foot-6 Wolfe. Reunite Penn with his "Into the Wild" star and let Emile Hirsch play Hemingway. And maybe James McAvoy as F. Scott Fitzgerald, with Kirsten Dunst as Zelda, who, according to legend, once drove Perkins straight into Long Island Sound.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Sean Penn entering the Governor's Ball in 2009 after winning the best actor Oscar for his role in "Milk." Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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