Sean Penn is promoting his book, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. It’s a stupid-ass title. I can’t tell you if it’s a stupid-ass book but I don’t think it’s winning any awards and it’s because Sean Penn is a dick…but not, necessarily, in the way that you think, although his general dickishness is certainly part of it.
Sean was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night. He was groggy from the Ambien. He lit up a couple of cigarettes and all of this is making headlines. I don’t smoke anymore but I do vape (pretty much incessantly) so I still consider myself a smoker which is why the smoking itself is not what bothers me. It’s where he’s smoking. Nobody else would have been allowed to smoke inside – except, of course, if it’s a celebrity, a two-time Oscar winner, Sean f-cking Penn, so of course he’s allowed to do it. And this is especially insulting because Sean Penn’s whole thing is that he’s *just* another citizen, and that he doesn’t f-ck with this whole celebrity identity bullsh-t… only lighting up a cigarette on the air in a studio when it violates all kinds of bylaws is exactly the kind of celebrity identity bullsh-t that he claims to not be a part of, you smug f-ck!
Anyway, Stephen asks Sean about writing the book and why he’s not acting much anymore and Sean says that basically he’s not interested in acting anymore because acting and making a film is a collaborative process and, well, he’s just not that down with collaborating. When he’s writing he doesn’t have collaborators so “I was never disappointed with me”.
If the book sucks then, you know why. Because, sure, you can write a book all by yourself and not collaborate with anyone but a good book comes together when you collaborate – with other writers, when you’re working out ideas, with the people who help you research, and, most importantly, with your editor. I worked with two editors on my book – Amy Einhorn and Deirdre Molina – and my book would not have happened at all without them. You would have to be megalomaniac to think that you can pull off a book without some assistance. You would have to be a celebrity to write a book without collaboration and still get it published, by a major publishing house, and think it’s because you’re good at it.
So, once again, we’ve come back to Sean Penn, the celebrity. It’s pretty much the most celebrity thing he’s ever done. And he’s been a celebrity for a long, long time. But this is textbook celebrity behaviour. Celebrities don’t hear “no”. Celebrities don’t really want feedback. Celebrities don’t want to be part of a conversation, they either want to be the conversation or they want to dominate the conversation – which isn’t a real conversation.
Interestingly, this is how Sean describes his relationship now to Robin Wright. While speaking with Mark Maron on the WTF Podcast, Sean said that he and Robin “don’t have a lot of conversation”. Per PEOPLE:
“We don’t not get along,” he added. “We have very separate relationships with our kids at this point and it seems to work better that way because they are making their own decisions. As it turned out she and I did not share the same ethical views on parenting, including the continuing parenting of adult children.”
Sean and Robin were seen together last May in New York. They were visiting their son Hopper together. A couple of weeks later, there were pictures of the two of them with a dude, allegedly Dylan Penn’s boyfriend, and they were all sitting outside having what looked to be a pretty aggressive conversation – or at least Sean was having the aggressive conversation. Something about what he’s saying here to Marc Maron reminded me of that. I’m not a parent but I’ve heard that collaborating is critical to parenting, whether or not the parents are still together. This sounds reasonable. Unless, of course, you’re Sean Penn.