Intesa Sanpaolo to Invest in Italian Movie Starring Sean Penn

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Intesa Sanpaolo SpA will be the first bank in Italy to take part in the production of a film as part of a project to support the Italian movie industry. The film stars Academy Award winners Sean Penn and Frances McDormand.

The lender will invest 2.5 million euros ($3.15 million) in the movie directed by Paolo Sorrentino, whose “Il Divo” won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival in 2008, according to a news conference in Milan today.

“This is the first time an Italian bank is part of a movie’s production,” Chief Executive Officer Corrado Passera said. Intesa in the past two years has lent more than 100 million euros to television series and filmmakers.

The movie, titled “This Must Be the Place,” will be filmed in the U.S. and released next year. It will be the English-language debut of the Italian director. Penn will play a middle-aged rock star who becomes bored in retirement and decides to find his father’s executioner, a Nazi war criminal hiding in the U.S.

McDormand will play Penn’s wife.

The film will be coproduced with Medusa SpA, a unit of Mediaset SpA, the TV company of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and other Italian, French and Irish investors. The total investment will amount to 28 million euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at ssirletti@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net; Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.