Don’t believe everything you hear about Sean Penn, the Oscar-winning actor, director, human rights activist, and cofounder of JP/Haitian Relief Organization. There is no evidence of Penn’s media reputation as a “bad boy” when he sits in his Los Angeles home for an interview about his first book, the novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff (Atria, March). The den, which also holds Penn’s impressive book collection, is filled with framed photos of his family and friends. He greets me warmly and gives generously of his thoughts about writing, the book business, and what motivated him to write fiction in the first place.
“I had directed a movie, working with people who were very talented, and, for the first time on a set, I was miserable,” Penn says. “And didn’t know why.”
The leading cast was a bit younger than Penn, he says, and perhaps lacked the maturity that comes with his experience. “I found myself feeling very much like another generation. While I had their talent available from the time they checked in until they checked out, they had business calls to make; they’re sending emails, texts, whatever it was they had to do. Despite their talent, they seemed more interested in selling films than making them. You’re massaging egos everywhere. Richard Harris said, ‘I’m the last of the generation of actors who doesn’t go to bed at 10 p.m. with face cream on.’ I felt very much that way on this movie, which became an extremely terrible experience. It made people that I knew well just hate me.”
Penn went into a depression. When it passed, he knew it was time to do something where he wasn’t disappointing anyone and began to write Bob Honey. “I had a blast,” he says. “I giggled a lot. I went to a place in a rhythm, and felt I was free to find what words turned me on. I’m a big melody guy, and I know the clues. Some people you don’t understand, but if you listen to their melody, you totally understand what they’re saying, who they are, where they’ve been, and what they do for a living. That was a driver to some of the book.” ... [mehr] https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/profiles/article/76074-switching-artistic-gears.html