Who is Sean Penn? An actor, a filmmaker, a political activist – and an author?
Sean Pen published his debut novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, March 27, 2018, with Simon and Schuster. The book chronicles a man’s life in a “world where even an orgasm isn’t real until it is turned into a tweet,” but the character Bob Honey happens to be “a contract killer for an off-the-books program run by a branch of US intelligence that targets the elderly, the infirm, and the others who drain this consumption-driven society of its resources.” The catalyst of the novel revolves around a “nosy journalist… asking questions,” and Honey “decides it’s time to make a change.”
Corey Seymour of Vogue caught up with the author in the wake of his book release to interview him about his departure from the film industry, Bob Honey, and #MeToo.
To kick off the interview, Seymour prompted Penn to talk a little about the difference between writing a book and writing a screenplay, and Penn responded with the key difference that when you write a book you are essentially writing by yourself whereas when you write a screenplay there is a lot of collaboration. He comments, that “[he likes] standing on something that’s all [his] and having no apologies to make and feeling complete,” and that “[he has] nothing in the works with acting involved.” He adds that “[he doesn’t] have, in [his] view, a generic interest in making films,” and that “[he has] a much better time writing books” so “that’ll probably dominate [his] creative energies for the foreseeable future.
Penn wrote Bob Honey by hand and then his assistant dictated the text. In the past, Penn had written on an old typewriter, but “once the ribbons to [my] particular typewriter became less available” he seemed to decide that this wasn’t practical.
The novel itself serves as a bit of social commentary. Penn points out that #MeToo is discussed in the novel, but it does not stand alone. He says “depending upon how one reads it, there is an encouragement for any movement that’s going to create social equality to succeed.” So, he comments, “if people decide to look at a novel as an opinion piece, well – they picked up the wrong book.”
Buy the book here: