River Road chief Bill Pohlad is understood to be financing the romance for Sean Penn to direct starring Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem.

The Africa-set story would appear to be a good fit for Lionsgate International to board as sales agent in the run-up to Cannes next month. At time of writing no parties had confirmed this.

The Last Face also stars Adèle Exarchopoulos from Cannes 2013 Palme d’or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color and it is understood Bill Gerber and Matt Palmieri will produce.

The story centres on two humanitarian doctors who meet in war-torn Africa. The story is based on a screenplay by Erin Dignam and is expected to shoot in Africa.

Penn and Pohlad have collaborated on three prior occasions — Into The Wild, The Tree Of Life and Fair Game — while Penn and Bardem recently wrapped production on Silver Pictures/StudioCanal’s The Gunman for Pierre Morel.

Summit International, which was absorbed into the Lionsgate structure when the companies merged, handled sales on The Tree Of Life and Fair Game.