Sean Penn’s been on quite a trip lately, literally. He recently (and bluntly) opened up to Sean Hannity (about not trusting the Fox News host one bit) before they had a civilized discussion on Ukraine. The Oscar winning actor (who had vowed vowed to “smelt” his Academy Awards, should President Volodymyr Zelensky not virtually appear, and he did not) recently met with Zelensky during Penn’s filming of a documentary. The timing of that meeting meant that Penn was in the country during Russia’s invasion. He did flee to Poland while largely traveling on foot, and now, the Gaslit star has opened up about how he mulled over joining the Ukraine resistance.
The 61-year-old actor went there in spirit, at least, and he discussed (with the new quarterly Hollywood Authentic magazine) how absurd he felt while considering, “I’m now thinking about taking up arms against Russia?” No smelting followup materialized, but via Variety, Penn says that the post-invasion process had him even considering taking up arms without body armor for the below rationale:
“The only possible reason for me staying in Ukraine longer last time would’ve been for me to be holding a rifle, probably without body armour, because as a foreigner, you would want to give that body armour to one of the civilian fighters who doesn’t have it or to a fighter with more skills than I have, or to a younger man or woman who could fight for longer or whatever. So, where I am in life is short of doing that, but if you’ve been in Ukraine [fighting] has to cross your mind. And you kind of think what century is this?”
It’s quite a discussion. Penn also revealed how he had begun conversing with Zelensky, years ago, and the documentary was at least partially meant to chart his rise from the lead role in Servant of the People (in which he played an everyman who accidentally became president) to actual Ukrainian president. Obviously, the project took a turn, and Penn says that he intends to one day travel back to Ukraine, “But I’m not an idiot, I am not certain what I can offer.” He added, “I don’t spend a lot of time texting the president or his staff while they’re under siege and their people are being murdered.”
That’s sobering stuff for sure, and you can read the full interview at Hollywood Authentic.