Give Sean Penn some credit. The guy is not only a great actor, he’s sincerely, 100 percent committed to his bit. What bit is that, you ask? Saying things that show very little self-awareness while also being easily perceived as arrogant and pretty much completely humorless.
Which brings us to this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where The Last Face, Penn’s latest directorial effort and first since 2007’s Into the Wild, will premiere this upcoming week. In a windy interview with the Financial Times, Penn referred to Hollywood and the movie industry as “ubiquitous frauds.” This might be true. But when your entire career and livelihood have been built and exist because of something, calling it a “ubiquitous fraud” seems disingenuous at best and having fully taken leave of your senses at worst.
Penn says that Hollywood is now “more interested in selling movies than making them.” He’s not exactly breaking news there, but again, who on earth is Sean Penn if not for Hollywood selling his movies? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Penn doesn’t always work in mainstream Hollywood but if it weren’t for him starring in something like The Gunman or the execrable Gangster Squad, he wouldn’t be able to go off and make a movie about aid workers in Liberia like The Last Face or try to turn Emile Hirsch into a Christ-figure in the middle of nowhere in Into the Wild. It’s safe to assume that if Penn knows this to be true, he doesn’t really care.
The Last Face stars Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem is scheduled to show at Cannes on May 20.