Sean Penn is still angry, especially at Will Smith for the “Slap Heard Around the World” at the 2022 Academy Awards when Smith slapped Chris Rock on live TV. Penn won his first Best Actor Oscar for Mystic River and his second for Milk.
In a recent interview with Variety, Penn doesn't pull any punches about what triggers him. “I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once,” says Penn. “He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so f—ing good in King Richard. So why the f–k did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid f–ing thing? Why did I go to f—ing jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?”
Penn continues, “This f—ing bulls–t wouldn’t have happened with Zelenskyy. Will Smith would never have left that chair to be part of stupid violence. It never would have happened. I thought, well, f–k, you know? I’ll give [my Oscar statues] to Ukraine. They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians.”
In addition to Will Smith and Politics, AI and a Lack of Morality Fuel Sean Penn's Rage
Penn rose to prominence with his roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, At Close Range, Dead Man Walking, I Am Sam, 21 Grams, Milk, Mystic River, Carlito's Way, All the King's Men, and Into the Wild. The opinionated actor has zero tolerance for paparazzi; a court mandated that he go to anger-management counseling in 2010 after a sordid interaction with a photographer. Despite his temper, Penn does humanitarian work, supporting victims after Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He married three times, divorced three times, and has two children.
In the same interview with Variety, Sean Penn lays out a plan to end the AI debate in the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes. Penn says he wants to be in a room with studio heads and a camera crew. Then he'll ask the studio bosses, “So you want my scans and voice data and all that. OK, here’s what I think is fair: I want your daughter's because I want to create a virtual replica of her and invite my friends over to do whatever we want in a virtual party right now. Would you please look at the camera and tell me you think that’s cool?” Penn continues, “It’s not about business. It’s an indecent proposal. That they would do that and not be taken to task for it is insulting. This is a real exposé on morality — a lack of morality.”
At the end of the Variety interview, Penn admits that he did not melt his Oscar statues. Instead, he gave one to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when he met the Ukraine head of state. “I told him to keep it and bring it to Malibu after all this is over and his country is safe,” says Penn.
Sean Penn has three films that debuted at film festivals in 2023: the thriller Black Flies, the drama Daddio, and the drama Gonzo Girl directed by Patricia Arquette. Penn's documentary Superpower about President Zelenskyy — whom Penn considers a friend — premieres on September 18.