HBO Lands Andrew Jackson Miniseries Starring Sean Penn

The Lionsgate-produced project is based on Jon Meacham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, 'American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.'
Sean Penn  Todd Williamson/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter

Sean Penn is heading to HBO.

The five-time Academy Award nominee and two-time winner is set to star as Andrew Jackson in a Lionsgate-produced miniseries based on Jon Meacham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. The six-hour event series is being written by Narcos creators Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard.

The high-profile entry centers on the seventh U.S. president, who was orphaned at the hands of the British and is billed as a self-made man, a western outsider, a violent warrior and a beloved general who became the country’s first “People’s President.” With the fate of the U.S. uncertain, Jackson fought an intractable Congress and special interests to preserve the Union at all costs — leaving a mixed and deeply controversial legacy.

Penn also will executive produce the project, which was brought to the studio and network by Facebook’s head of market development Matt Jacobson, who also will exec produce alongside Miro and Bernard. Meacham will serve as a consultant on the mini, which is set to begin production in 2016.

The news comes as Penn’s interests continue to expand. The actor/director, best known for performances in such films as Dead Man Walking, I Am Sam and Milk, has spent much of his off-camera time of late as a founder and CEO of J/P Haitian Relief Organization. As a director, he currently is in post-production on The Last Face, a drama starring his former fiancee Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem.

It’s worth noting that HBO earned 13 Emmys for its last presidential miniseries, John Adams, which starred Paul Giamatti in the title role. The one-off is a coup for Lionsgate, too, which has been quietly and scrappily growing its TV portfolio, which now includes more than 30 series — Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, WGN America’s Manhattan and Hulu’s Golden Globe nominee Casual among them.

Penn is repped by CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein; Miro and Bernard, who also wrote Disney's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, are with UTA.

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