Liman's Plame pic stars Naomi Watts, Sean Penn

Summit Entertainment has picked up North American distribution rights to Doug Liman’s Naomi Watts-Sean Penn topliner “Fair Game,” about outed CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Summit also has picked up rights for Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, Japan and CIS.

Acquisition ends days of buzz about a possible domestic deal for the film, which attracted renewed interest from buyers after being accepted into the Cannes film festival. “Fair Game” is the only U.S. title in main competition.

CAA packaged the film, as well as repping domestic rights. “Fair Game” was financed by River Road Entertainment, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi.

Summit was something of a natural fit, both because Summit International is handling foreign sales and because Summit’s domestic operation has embraced serious dramas including “The Hurt Locker” and “The Ghost Writer.”

“Fair Game” is based on Plame’s memoir of the same name. Adapted script was penned by Jez Butterworth and John Butterworth.

In 2003, Valerie Wilson’s cover was leaked to the press after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson had criticized the Bush administration’s rational for the Iraq war. She became the center of a political scandal and eventually resigned from the CIA in 2005.

“‘Fair Game’ is a very strong engaging thriller that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. The performances are fantastic and Doug Liman has once again delivered a powerful film that harnesses all of the creative means at his disposal,” Summit co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman said.

Producers are River Road’s Bill Pohlad, Zucker Prods.’ Janet and Jerry Zucker, Weed Road Pictures’ Akiva Goldsman, Liman and Jez Butterworth.

“We choose our partners based on a like-minded philosophy. Participant, River Road and Summit share our commitment to supporting films that not only entertain, but also raise awareness of issues and encourage social change,” Imagenation CEO Ed Borgerding said.

“Cast of “Fair Game” also includes Michael Kelly, Noah Emmerich, Bruce McGill, Sam Shepard, Polly Holiday and Tom McCarthy.

“Fair Game” was originally set up at Warner Bros., but the project was put into turnaround after a number of serious-minded dramas failed to woo auds at the box office.

CAA reps Liman, Watts and Penn.

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