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Penn, Pop added to ‘Persepolis’

Duo sign as voice talent to animated feature

Sean Penn and Iggy Pop have signed on as voice talent for the English-language version of Sony Picture Classics’ toon “Persepolis.”

The recruits join the already-announced Gena Rowlands and Catherine Deneuve for the animated toon based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical, bestselling graphic novel growing up in Iran during the 1979 revolution.

Chiara Mastroianni, Deneuve’s daughter, will voice the lead character of Satrapi as she did in the French version.

Penn will play Satrapi’s long-suffering father while Pop will voice the role of the young girl’s rebellious and politically active uncle.

Work on the English-version dub will begin this summer. Pic will be released Stateside in the fall and producers are trying to ready an English-language version in time for its preem at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

“I think it’s very good that these two actors have accepted. It will give the film another boost,” said Hengameh Panahi, Dreamachine co-topper, the new international sales company combining Panahi’s Celluloid Dreams and Jeremy Thomas’ Hanway Films.

Celluloid Dreams handled international sales of the pic, which was produced by Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of 2.4.7. Films; Kathleen Kennedy exec-produced, in co-production with France 3 Cinema, and brought Sony Pictures Classics on board to handle the U.S. release.

Pic has been a smash in Gaul since its release. Toon has grossed $3.7 million over two frames, and seen its release expanded from 199 prints to 370.

Though born Iran in 1969, Satrapi now lives in Paris. “Persepolis” has been at the center of a feud with Iranian authorities for its wry, satirical take on the oppressive life under the rule of the mullahs ever since its preem at Cannes, where it shared the Jury Prize with Carlos Reygadas’ “Silent Light.”

Iranian government officials slammed the Cannes jury’s decision as an example of “Islamophobia,” per Mehdi Kalhor, a cultural adviser to Iranian prexy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Bangkok Intl. Film Festival dropped the pic as its opener following a request from the Iranian embassy in Bangkok.

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