The film is the studio's first collaboration with director Marc Forster since "Monster's Ball."
"After renouncing his outlaw ways, Sam Childers embarks on a spiritual path, becoming a warrior for the desperate and helpless children in a war-torn country in Africa," a synopsis of the film said.
Gerard Butler plays the title character, while Michelle Monaghan has been cast as his wife, Lynn Childers.
Michael Shannon portrays Childers' best friend, Donnie; Madeline Carroll plays Childers' daughter, Paige; Kathy Baker plays Childers' mother, Daisy; and Souleymane Sy Savane plays Deng, Childers' right hand in Africa.
Joe Drake, Lionsgate chief operating officer and motion picture group president, and Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate president of motion picture production, said Monday principal photography for the film is scheduled to begin July 5 in Detroit and South Africa. Lionsgate plans to release the film in fall 2011.
"'Machine Gun Preacher' combines a fascinating, action-packed story and unique characters with great talent on both sides of the camera. We're delighted to be back in business with our friend Marc, one of the most gifted and versatile filmmakers working today. And Gerard Butler is the ideal actor to capture the strength, complexity and charisma of this film's real-life hero, Sam Childers," Paseornek said in a statement.