Sean Penn In Talks To Direct 1st Film Since 2007; Billy Crystal Writing Book On Aging: Biz Break

Also in Thursday afternoon's round-up of news briefs, political drama Knife Fight is heading to U.S. theaters courtesy of IFC Films. Saoirse Ronan will headline a new royal role and Steve Pink is eyeing the director's chair for a remake of 1986's About Last Night.

Knife Fight Heads to Theaters
Bill Guttentag's political drama Knife Fight starring Rob Lowe,Jaime Chung, Julie Bowen, Richard Schiff, Saffron Burrows, Jennifer Morrison, David Harbour Eric McCormack, and Carrie-Anne Moss will head to theaters presumably before the election. The Tribeca 2012 premiere centers on a political strategist who spins every news cycle and a shrewd reporter (Bowen) on behalf of his clients: a philandering Kentucky governor (McCormack), a blackmailed California senator (Harbour), and an idealistic doctor turned gubernatorial candidate (Moss). The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with WME Independent on behalf of the filmmakers.

Around the 'net…

Sean Penn Eyes Crazy for the Storm to Direct
Based on the survivor memoir by Norman Ollestad, Crazy for the Storm centers on Ollestad's relationship with his father who forced him into the world of extreme surfing and competitive downhill skinning beginning at age three. Penn's last directorial project was 2007's Into the Wild, THR reports.

Billy Crystal Working on a Book About Aging
He's hosted the Oscars and has multiple Emmys to show for it along with his many dozens of film roles. And to mark his 65th birthday next year, Crystal is using the milestone as a segue for a book and perhaps a stage show. He said he hopes to have the book completed by his birthday on March 14, 2013. "There are 77 million of us baby boomers in the country and this book will speak to them and how we look at the world," he told A.P.

Saoirse Ronan Dons Mary Queen of Scots
Ronan will play the Scottish monarch in the Working Title project in a script written by Michael Hirst. Mary was crowned the Queen of Scotland at age one and her first husband became King of France. But she ran afoul of her distant relative, England's Queen Elizabeth, Deadline reports.

Steve Pink Eyes Sexual Perversity in Chicago
The project is a remake of the 1986 film About Last Night from a script by Bachelorette director Leslye Headland. Michael Ealy is starring in the role originated by Rob Lowe and Kevin Hart is taking on the Jim Belushi role in the Screen Gems project, Deadline reports.