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Sean Penn, the actor who brought out the colors of Uncle Sam


To the ‘enfant terrible’ of Hollywood any script is too small. Zelenski is the latest chapter in an activism that spans from ‘Katrina’ to Fidel Castro. He even negotiated the release of a compatriot in Bolivia

Robin Wright already said it, who will know what he is talking about after 14 years of living together and two children in common: “Sean is not one to sit back and let things happen.” Said like this, it sounds like praise, another to add to the legend that surrounds this star of the Hollywood firmament, anointed with two Oscars from the Academy and whose rocky appearance evokes that of someone permanently installed in hungover mornings but owner of a chilling lucidity; the gaze of a thousand meters under that indomitable whirlpool and a cracked face that seems to have been sculpted with a burin and shaved with Captain Ahab’s harpoon. Eye, no foam.

The last adventure of this rebel with a cause has been in the Ukraine, where he traveled before the war broke out to shoot a documentary, but when the drama was already brewing in the air. The day the T-72 main battle tanks and Iskander missiles crossed the border, protected from the air by swarms of Mig-29s, Penn was attending a press conference called by Volodimir Zelensky. “Our country is very grateful for his display of courage and honesty,” said the once-comedian, who has understood better than anyone the gears of propaganda seeking foreign aid.

Eight days after the siege began, and with his team rolling in the very streets that would soon be bombed, Sean Penn left the country, crossing the Ukrainian border on foot like thousands of refugees, among an endless line of abandoned vehicles. in the gutter Since then, his commitment has not ceased, first requesting Zelensky’s intervention at the Oscars and threatening to melt his statuettes if he did not.

The Academy, more reticent than Penn when it comes to getting into gardens, dedicated three minutes to the war to save the file. The intermediate solution received the immediate scorn of his ‘enfant terrible’, who did not hesitate to describe the decision as “the most obscene moment in Hollywood history, while the Ukrainians take the bullets and the bombs for us”.

But his invectives did not end there. The actor, screenwriter and producer has not hesitated either to appeal to the great fortunes of his country so that “some millionaire” spends “300 million dollars” on combat aircraft with better technology than the ‘Mig’ or the ‘ Its’ Russians, so that Ukraine can thus defend its airspace and have some chance of turning the war around. So far no one has knocked on his door.

the american friend

Sean was born in 1960 in Santa Monica, California. His father, Leo, a Jew of Sephardic origin (Penn is the Americanized form of Piñón) was a film director and he plugged him into one of the episodes of ‘Little House on the Prairie’, one of those 70s series that brought together the families around the TV on Sunday afternoons when there was no Play Station or internet. A fleeting appearance, of course, but the germ of a career that has combined commercial successes (‘The Irish Club’, ‘Death Penalty’, ‘Mystic River’ or ‘Milk’), with independent projects directed by him and well received by critics, such as ‘The crossing guard’ or ‘Towards wild routes’.

A serious career on stage that contrasted with beginnings that were dotted with scandals of all kinds, from attacks on journalists who persecuted him and Madonna when they were a couple or an extra with whom he coincided in the filming of ‘Colors’, to convictions for violating probation and reckless driving. He was so unleashed that he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and 36 hours of anger management treatment. His sentimental life has filled covers and for her they have paraded, apart from the already mentioned Madonna and Wright, his first two wives, a third, the Australian Leila George -who endured a year- or Charlize Theron, whom he came to direct .

He left Ukraine on foot with thousands of refugees and threatened to melt his 2 Oscars if the gala ignored the drama of the war

But Penn’s life has many edges, and perhaps the most notable offstage is his outspoken activism, which he has shown, for example, by showing his support for same-sex marriage. Also when she traveled to New Orleans to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina; or to Haiti, where she set up a camp with capacity for more than 50,000 victims of the 2010 earthquake.

The same activism has led him to frequent proscribed companies in his own country and bring out the colors of Uncle Sam himself. Sean has declared himself an agnostic and rationalist, which did not prevent him from participating in prayer days for Chavez when his health was failing everywhere. He is also a Marxist of the Mao current -something as strange in Malibu as meeting a warthog in a skateboard shop-, which has earned him friendship, in addition to the Bolivarian leader, Fidel Castro or Evo Morales. And it is that you have to have friends even in hell: it is said of him that he mediated in the release of the American Jacob Ostreicher, held in a Bolivian prison and whom he cared for in person.

At home, that type of unchecking is not liked by everyone. Like when he visited Iraq (2002) to protest the plans of the Bush Administration. Or when he intervened at the University of Tehran (2005). Or more recently, by making Trump ugly for arming Erdogan so that the Turks can put an end to the pockets of Armenian resistance. “The revolution, drug trafficking and abuses of freedom are in the nature of those exotic peoples that attract him so much,” a former US ambassador in Caracas said of him. Penn’s reprimands go in one ear and out the other. He may be an actor, but he’s not willing to let anyone outside the screen mark the script for him.

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