Lionsgate Television is heading AMERICAN LION about the life of our seventh President starring Sean Penn. It has been given the go-ahead by HBO to be developed into a six-hour event miniseries. The work is based on the Pulitzer Prize winner “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the While House” by Jon Meacham (found here) with additional material from Robert V. Remini’s Jackson biography.
The powers that be behind the project with Lionsgate Facebook’s Head of Market Development Matt Jacobson and Narcos co-creators Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard. Miro and Bernard are writing the script and will executive produce the mini with actor Sean Penn and Jacobson. Meacham serves as a consultant on the miniseries, set to start production in 2016. About three years ago, Jacobson, a self-professed history buff, read Meacham’s book. Deadline.com (our source) has a few quotes about the developing project from Jacobson. Regarding the source material he states –
“I saw a lot of analogies with what is happening now and felt the story needed to be told. [He was] this incredibly important President who had a remarkable impact on history that most people neither knew about nor understood. He got things done. I thought we needed some of that in American politics.”
As for getting his lead actor on board Jacobson (pictured) was a passing acquaintance of Penn’s and when they talked shop on a flight Meacham’s book on Andrew Jackson was passed on and Penn was interested. Apparently there was at least a first draft of the Miro/Bernard screenplay available earlier in 2015 because Jacobson sent Penn a copy and he was hooked into playing the diligent and determined President after reading it. AMERICAN LION sounds like a great historical venture for HBO which is doing business with Lionsgate for the first time. It will also be Sean Penn’s first foray into television. HBOWatch will watch its progress.