It would seem Sean Penn is seeking a little moment of zen that can only come from hitting the onscreen waves. In March, he was reportedly circling Curtis Hanson's biopic of surfer Jay Moriarty, but eventually passed on the role. But he's wound up playing another legendary beach boy, as Variety reports he's signed on to be the lead in a biopic of Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz. Paul Feldsher will pen the screenplay.

Paskowitz has been the subject of one documentary, Surfwise. He's a popular but controversial figure in surfing. He gave up a career as a doctor, spent some time in Israel finding himself, and went through two marriages before deciding to concentrate on surfing full time. Paskowitz and his third wife, Juliette, lived as bohemians with their 9 children(!) and traveled beaches in banged up camper vans. None of his children were formally educated in anything but surfing, he imposed a strict health food diet on them, and the entire family scraped by on limited income. In 1972, they founded the very first surf camp, allowing campers to live and train beside the family.

Surfwise revealed that the Paskowitz clan has mixed feelings about their erratic childhood, so there's plenty of controversial and dramatic material here. Producers have been trying to get the rights to Paskowitz's life story for decades, but Alan and Gabe Polsky have been the first to succeed due to catching Penn's interest. It will lead to a lot of Spicoli jokes in the press (even Variety couldn't resist one), but it may also make for one heck of a movie if it's anything close to the documentary.