Sean Penn: On Trauma, Haiti and Being a 'Genius'

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Revealing and in-depth interviews from celebrities are sought after by fans, but Sean Penn has gone a step further and has written an honest and humorous essay for Esquire magazine about his life, interests and family. 

While his syntax leaves a lot to be desired (he mixes tenses as though he has no concept of time), he opens by linking traumas. From discussing his son's accident which left him needing brain surgery and being pumped full of morphine, which "created kind of a love affair for [Penn] with morphine", to discussing the difficulties the family faced with his divorce, finally leading into Sean's involvement with Haiti. In distinct contrast to his son's head injury and the painkillers he was given, in Haiti "One of the first reports [Penn] saw, they were doing trauma surgeries, amputations - children, with no IV pain medications... And they needed about 350,000 vials of morphine and ketamine. So [he] started putting a little ragtag team together to locate the drugs," he said. 

"If you think about how pussified this country has become, right? Haiti is so far from being pussified." Penn, eloquent as always, explains how capable the Haitians were in the wake of the earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions from their homes. To get the job done and provide the remote country with painkillers he resorted to blackmail, threatening actors with CNN if they didn't do what he asked and write that 'check'. 

And then, somehow, he spuriously links trauma with making movies, because he was a genius. "when I got involved in the movies, I was a genius in terms of how the movies that were made in the generation that inspired me got made - but now the financing wasn't there to do 'em anymore. Trauma." Plus, according to Penn the quality of movies and the expectations are much, much lower now, with references to the "consumerist moshpit" that actors now pander do. 

Whether he likes it or not he's a part of that consumerist moshpit, and despite the sprawling and spurious nature of the essay, we've no doubt he'd like to remind you that his latest movie Gangster Squad is out on January 11th 2013. 


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