According to Variety, Paramount's specialty division has signed Sean Penn to direct Alaska adventure Into the Wild, with Emile Hirsch ("The Lords of Dogtown") to star.

The project is based on Penn's adaptation of Jon Krakauer's bestseller. Producing are Art Linson and Bill Pohlad, an exec producer on Brokeback Mountain.

Hirsch will portray Christopher McCandless, who graduated from college in 1992, abandoned his possessions and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness and return to nature. He died four months later in an abandoned bus at a remote campsite.