Sean Penn to Direct Survival Drama CRAZY FOR THE STORM

     August 9, 2012


Sean Penn is adding another directorial project to his docket.  Variety reports that Penn has now entered talks to direct Crazy for the Storm, an adaptation of Norman Ollestad’s memoir.  At only 11 years old, Ollestad was the only survivor of a plane crash that killed his father.  The script by Will Fetters (The Lucky One) landed on the 2011 Black List and revolves around Ollestad’s relationship with his father and how the skills instilled in him by his father helped him survive the crash.

It sounds like a fairly intense story, and the Warner Bros. film will likely necessitate strong performances from the actors playing the young boy and his father.  Penn is not expected to take a role in the film, as he’ll only be handling directing duties.  Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis of the book.

crazy-for-the-storm-book-coverPenn was last behind the camera on a survival tale of a different sort, the stellar 2007 adaptation of Into the Wild.  He was poised to direct the drama The Comedian with Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig this year, but production has yet to get underway.  Variety’s report has no word on the status of that project.  Crazy for the Storm could make for one hell of a feature adaptation, and Penn’s understated and character-centric style should make for a nice fit.  He’ll next be seen as an actor in Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad, which WB has moved to early 2013. Read a synopsis for Ollestad’s memoir below.

Dad Said

Ollestad, we can do it all. . . .

Why do you make me do this?

Because it’s beautiful when it all comes together.

I don’t think it’s ever beautiful.

One day.


We’ll see, my father said. Vamanos.

From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. While his friends were riding bikes, playing ball, and going to birthday parties, young Norman was whisked away in pursuit of wild and demanding adventures. Yet it were these exhilarating tests of skill that prepared “Boy Wonder,” as his father called him, to become a fearless champion–and ultimately saved his life.

Flying to a ski championship ceremony in February 1979, the chartered Cessna carrying Norman, his father, his father’s girlfriend, and the pilot crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains and was suspended at 8,200 feet, engulfed in a blizzard. “Dad and I were a team, and he was Superman,” Ollestad writes. But now Norman’s father was dead, and the devastated eleven-year-old had to descend the treacherous, icy mountain alone.

Set amid the spontaneous, uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, this riveting memoir, written in crisp Hemingwayesque prose, recalls Ollestad’s childhood and the magnetic man whose determination and love infuriated and inspired him–and also taught him to overcome the indomitable. As it illuminates the complicated bond between an extraordinary father and his son, Ollestad’s powerful and unforgettable true story offers remarkable insight for us all. [Amazon]

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