Sean Penn profile

Sean Penn

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There’s so much we don’t know about Sean Penn, whose powerful onscreen performances are only matched by his fuming hatred for the Hollywood corporation, though it seems like a new article is printed about his democratic-influenced activism every week. He’s by far one of the greatest actors of his time, but before crossing the line to humble artist, Sean was the media’s unofficial fall guy, labeled as the bad boy, paparazzi-punching ex-husband of Madonna. So why do we all still love him? Just take a look at any one of his award-worthy performances and you’ll quickly understand the “why” to that question. Born in Burbank, California in 1960 to a director father and actress mother, Sean went through high school with the Sheen brothers and, following graduation, enrolled in the Los Angeles Repertoire Theater Company. It didn’t take long for the scouts to recognize Sean’s talent either, and he was quickly paired up alongside fellow up-and-comer Tom Cruise in the 1981 film “Taps,” though it was his next role as teenage stoner Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” that gained him his initial reputation as a Hollywood outcast.

Sean continued to trade in more promising roles for smaller projects, but it was his sudden marriage to mega pop star Madonna that thrust him into the limelight he so much despised. After four years together, the couple split and Sean decided to try his hand at directing with the film “The Indian Runner” (he also later directed the Jack Nicholson film “The Pledge”), but it was his amazing performance as a convict on death row in “Dead Man Walking” that earned him his much-deserved Oscar nomination. That wasn’t Sean’s only near-miss experience with the highly coveted golden statue either, nominated two more times for his work in “Sweet and Lowdown” and “I Am Sam” before finally winning the award for Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River.” Nowadays you’ll probably hear more about Sean’s assertive letters to the president or the “South Park” guys, than his latest film to open in theaters. But then again, he might just like it that way.

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Sean On The Web

An online database of Sean's career. - Sean Penn
Information and commentary on Sean from this Hollywood blog.

Sean on the Screen

Sean has more highs and lows than a theme-park rollercoaster, but audiences know much more of his successes than his failures. Known first and foremost for his comedic work in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Sean quickly moved on to more series work in films like "Taps," "Colors" and "Carlito's Way" before taking a short break from acting. He returned with full force in the Tim Robbins'-directed "Dead Man Walking" and the war film "The Thin Red Line," as well as starring in more abstract features like Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown" and "Before Night Falls." He starred oppsoite Michael Douglas in "The Game." His most recent starring roles in "21 Grams" and the award-winning "Mystic River" have re-established Sean as one of the best actors of his generation.

On the Record and Loving It

On acting:
"If there's one thing that actors know —other than there weren't any WMDs— it's that there is no such thing as best in acting."

On politics:
"We have some good people in politics - it's just that they don't win. In the same way we have some good movies, but they don't succeed in the US."