Sean Penn Joins The 'Cartel,' Heads South Of The Border For Action Pic

Sean PennWhen you're a double Oscar-winner like Sean Penn, you don't exactly have much to prove anymore ... except maybe that you've got a sense of humor, or that you could hold your own against MTV's Greatest Badass. According to Variety, Penn has decided to try the latter and star in Universal's thriller "Cartel," which will be directed by newcomer Asger Leth and scripted by Peter Craig.

Penn will play Ed Marker, who journeys south to protect his son after his wife is brutally murdered in the gritty, dangerous world of Mexican cartels. Interestingly, the film was originally remake of the 1993 Italian film "La scorta," which followed four cops struggling to guard a special prosecutor from the mob bosses he was trying to bring to justice. But the film evolved into an action thriller for Penn, which suggests that he really wants to delve into the world of badass cinema.

Universal is hoping to get the film into production by summer, but they won't announce a start date until Penn is officially signed. But he may end up playing spy instead of action hero, as he's also in discussions to costar with Naomi Watts in "Fair Game," the real-life drama of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. Will he pick both? Neither? With Penn, you just never can tell, but at least the onscreen result is almost always worth watching.

MTV readers, would you buy the grim Penn as an action hero? Or should he stick to the dramas that he gets so many Oscar nominations for?