Sean Penn May Lead Alejandro González Iñárritu’s True Crime Film FLIM-FLAM MAN

     March 15, 2012


Sean Penn may be teaming up with Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Babel). Just last week we learned that Iñárritu is attached to direct a true crime drama based on Jennifer Vogel’s memoir Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life, and now it appears Penn is interested in the lead. Vulture reports that Penn was being courted for a supporting role in Iñárritu’s adaptation of The Revenant (that Leonardo DiCaprio has taken a liking to), but the actor was more interested in Flim-Flam Man (which may now be retitled Red Flag). It’s not hard to see why Penn was drawn to the project, as the lead would have him playing a career criminal who dabbled in arson, robbery, conspiracy to commit murder, and fraud before being arrested in one of the largest counterfeit bill seizures in US history in 1995. Hit the jump for more.

Flim-Flam Man The True Story of My Fathers Counterfeit LifeVogel managed to escape custody after being arrested, leading to a six-month manhunt that should make for a highly entertaining cinematic ride. Vulture’s report says that no deal has been made for Penn to star, and at this time he’s merely interested in the part, but I think a Penn-Iñárritu team-up is a brilliant idea, especially on such a complex project. Vogel’s memoir not only recounts her father’s misgivings, but also the immense affection he held for his daughter. For what it’s worth, I’m hoping everything comes together. Read the synopsis for the book below.

A frank and intimate portrait of a charismatic, larger-than-life underworld figure, as told by the daughter who nearly followed in his footsteps.

“Do unto others before they do unto you,” John Vogel used to advise his daughter, Jennifer. By his account, the world was a crooked place and one had to be crooked in order to survive. A lifelong criminal, John robbed banks, burned down buildings, scammed investors, plotted murder, and single-handedly counterfeited more than $20 million. He also wrote a novel, invented a “jean stretcher,” baked lemon meringue pies, and arranged for ten-year-old Jennifer to see Rocky in an empty theater on Christmas Eve. In his reckless pursuit of the American Dream, he could be genuinely good. When it came time to pass his phony bills, he targeted Wal-Mart for political reasons.

In 1995, following John’s arrest in what turned out to be the fourth-largest seizure of counterfeit bills in U.S. history, he managed to slip away, leaving his now grown daughter to wonder what had become of him. Framed around the six months Jennifer’s father ran from the law, Flim-Flam Man vividly chronicles the police chase — stakeouts, lie detector tests, even a segment on Unsolved Mysteries. In describing her tumultuous life with John Vogel, Jennifer deftly examines the messy, painful, and almost inescapable inheritance one generation bequeaths to the next. [Amazon]

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