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Penn to direct Brando

Duo will team on 'Patriarch'

NEW YORK — After starring in Woody Allen’s next untitled film, Sean Penn plans to concentrate on producing and directing, including helming “Autumn of the Patriarch,” to star Marlon Brando.

Penn and partner Michael Fitzgerald have set up several other projects for their film shingle Clyde Is Hungry. The two will produce “Waiting for the Barbarians,” which John Coetze scripted from his own novel and which Werner Herzog will direct.

Jerzy Kromolowski, who scripted “Patriarch,” also has written and will direct “As I Lay Dying,” an adaptation of the William Faulkner novel that Clyde Is Hungry is producing with Gene Kirkwood.

Penn has another project based on an untitled script he wrote which he plans to direct for Clyde.

In his first pairing with director Allen, Penn will play a musician in the project that begins filming in the fall with Jean Doumanian producing.

The move to concentrate on helming and producing marks Penn’s second sabbatical from acting. After taking time out from thesping to direct “The Indian Runner” and “The Crossing Guard,” Penn has been acting regularly in projects.

In the past year, that includes the Terrence Malick-directed film “The Thin Red Line,” the Tony Draizin-helmed adaptation of the David Rabe play “hurlyburly,” and “Up at the Villa,” which he just began shooting in Tuscany, starring with Kristin Scott Thomas for director Phillip Haas (“Angels and Insects”).

Natural progression

Even in the films he’s most recently starred in but did not produce, Penn championed both “The Thin Red Line” and “hurlyburly” and was helpful in getting stars involved.

“Thin Red Line,” with everyone from Penn to George Clooney and John Travolta, bows from Fox 2000 in December. “hurlyburly,” which Penn once starred in when it was a stage play, has a cast that includes Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright Penn, Meg Ryan, Garry Shandling, Chazz Palminteri and Anna Paquin. The film is in postproduction and will be shopped shortly for a distribution deal.

Penn is repped by Brian Gersh of William Morris.

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