Sean Penn has a new interview in Esquire’s January issue. Well, I say “interview” but you know how artsy-fartsy Esquire is. The piece is written in the first person, like Sean Penn sat there and wrote everything out for Esquire, when really the piece is the product of an actual interview. Sean is promoting Gangster Squad, that really violent film with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and Josh Brolin, etc. Some sites are excerpting some cryptic quotes from this piece and treating the quotes like Sean is talking sh-t about his ex-wife Robin Wright. Which… I mean, I think he’s talking about their marriage, definitely. But I do think the quotes should be heard in context. Here are some highlights from the piece (you can read the whole thing here):
His son’s accident several years ago: “My son had a skateboard accident where he almost died. He had emergency brain surgery. This was before he turned eighteen — he’s nineteen now. And when he was recovering, seeing the morphine go into him and give him relief created kind of a love affair for me with morphine and that usage of it. It had already been eight months of divorce and shit, and raising a kid that’s going through the divorce himself, and then this f–king thing happens. He’s 100 percent now, no brain damage — he’s great. Got a few scars, but he’s great. But it was a tough, tough time. When he got out of the hospital and he’s with his mother after being with me for six months, I thought, Wow, I can actually go on a date. And so I go out and I strike out four nights in a row, drinking at a bar and ending up home, you know, drunk. And on the fourth day I said, ‘I could just go sit in the middle of the bed and watch TV at four in the afternoon, too. I don’t have anything.’ My daughter’s eighteen and she’s doing her thing, my son’s with his mother. So I turned on the TV and there was this earthquake in Haiti.”
On Haiti: “You had a country that had never experienced anything that related to comfort, and out of that you had great trauma — but also this great strength that, I think, we all benefited from. That’s part of the cultural thread that can be shared between the countries. If you think about how pussified this country has become, right? Haiti is so far from being pussified.”
How Sean Penn gets people to donate: “In the beginning, my thing was always blackmail. I would say, “If you don’t f–kin’ do x, y, and z, I’m gonna go on f–kin’ CNN and I’m gonna f–kin’ let the world know!” And sometimes I would get mocked because the bottom line is that yes, it’s funny. It’s funny to have this sniveling actor in there — and you can make fun of it, but the f–king easiest thing in the world is to convince people not to write a check. And that’s not funny to the people who need the money.”
On the changing movie industry: “In my teens, I fell in love with the movies. And so when I got involved in the movies, I was a genius in terms of how the movies that were made in the generation that inspired me got made — but now the financing wasn’t there to do ‘em anymore. Trauma. I’m caught in a business that I’m in love with the idea of — the whole process that’s possible. Only now they’re not making movies — they’re representing them.”
He’s shilling Gangster Squad but he hates sellouts: “I just did this picture that I enjoyed doing. Gangster Squad. But I do think that in general the standard of aspiration is low. Very low. And mostly they’re just doing a bunch of monkey-f–k-rat movies, most actors and actresses. And I blame them just as much as I do the business. I know everybody wants to make some money, everybody’s got a modeling contract, everybody’s selling jewelry and perfume. I’m blinded by it. Bob Dylan said in an interview one time — somebody asked him, Are you really this reclusive? He says, No, I’m not reclusive, man. I’m exclusive. Exclusivity is like intimacy.”
Intimacy and consumerism: “When I was growing up and somebody like Robert De Niro had a movie come out, it was a cultural event. Because he had such a confidence and a single mission that was so intimate. But when people start using themselves as instruments of a kind of consumerist mosh pit, they’re helping that take over. I mean, you are a soldier for it or you’re a soldier against it. That’s all there is to it. And we have so little of that intimacy left, it’s no wonder that interpersonal relationships have become text relationships. It’s a texting orgy. When is somebody gonna sit there, with their mate or their child, and just look them in the eye and say, “I love you?” When is that life??”
He does like some actors: “I’m just not a big-budget kinda guy, you know? I don’t know the young actors as well, I’m not as aware of who’s out there, but when I think of the crew around my age: Daniel, Philip, Javier, Josh, Jessica Chastain — who is f–king Stradivarius — what a group! There’s a group that could be in all the classic pictures right now. Like the classics of the seventies or the classics of the forties. I think of that group of actors and it’s like, “Gimme a camera, I got an idea!”
This is the part about Robin: “There is no shame in my saying that we all want to be loved by someone. As I look back over my life in romance, I don’t feel I’ve ever had that. I have been the only one that was unaware of the fraud in a few of these circumstances blindly. When you get divorced, all the truths that come out, you sit there and you go, What the f–k was I doing? What was I doing believing that this person was invested in this way? Which is a fantastically strong humiliation in the best sense. It can make somebody very bitter and very hard and closed off, but I find it does the opposite to me.
Let’s analyze the part that’s probably about Robin – Sean claims that he doesn’t feel that he’s ever been loved by someone? That’s what he’s saying – that HE is the one who loves too much and that he’s always been with people who don’t love him. And he gives that a name – “fraud”. Love fraud. Because he was blinded by his love for those women and he didn’t see that they were frauds because they didn’t love him and they weren’t invested in the relationship? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT? I do not. I think Robin put up with his lying, cheating, womanizing, drugging and drinking for decades. I think she was committed to loving him and raising their children together… until she wasn’t. Until she got tired of his crap. And even then, she still let him come back several times before they finally ended it for good. So basically, Sean Penn is a douchey whiner with a martyr complex. Shock.
Photos courtesy of Esquire.