Sean Penn, who launched his career nearly three decades ago playing quintessential surfer Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” is in negotiations to tackle surfing icon Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz.
Penn will produce a film based on the eccentric Paskowitz and his family and is eyeing the untitled project as a starring vehicle. Alan and Gabe Polsky, who recently produced the Werner Herzog-helmed “Bad Lieutenant” reboot, are also on board to produce.
The Polskys optioned the life rights to the Paskowitz clan, whose nomadic beach existence was recently the subject of Doug Pray’s docu “Surfwise.” For the past two decades, producers from Matt Weaver to Graydon Carter have tried unsuccessfully to secure the life rights to the now 89-year-old Paskowitz. The patriarch finally gave his blessing to the Polskys once they were able to attach Penn to the project.
Penn’s close friend Paul Feldsher, known for producing such pics as “The Four Feathers” and “Waking Up in Reno,” will write the screenplay.
Paskowitz became a cult hero for abandoning a successful medical practice and hitting the road in a camper with his wife and nine children. Family founded the first surf camp in the continental U.S.
Penn recently passed on a supporting role in the Curtis Hanson-helmed surfing pic “Mavericks,” which is scheduled to begin lensing in August.