We all know Sean Penn the actor, producer, and director, but did anyone know this is a man with an opinion, and a story to tell? Ok so, it isn’t exactly a secret that the famously outspoken movie star has things to say; many of them, in fact. With his latest endeavor, however, Penn has channeled his penchant for provocative pontificating into a truly fascinating whirlwind of words, art, and entertainment. He just released his first work of written fiction, a novel, and the title alone is certain to generate intrigue and a whimsical sense of confusion.
Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, available on bookshelves now, is Penn’s attempt to tackle an American society whose social threads are fraying and reattaching at breakneck speed. He uses humor and a sly sense of irony as he and his main character, Bob Honey, grapple with social upheaval and provide, somewhat, veiled commentary on a reality star president, and the prescient subject of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement. While Penn makes every effort to remind readers, and reviewers, that the story is entirely fictional, he found the process incredibly freeing and cathartic. Penn tells the story of Bob Honey’s growing disillusionment with a world in which he is a freelance assassin for the federal government. Honey’s day job? What else, but a septic-tank salesmen.
Sean Penn’s entire career, up until now, has been in the collaborative world of filmmaking. He’s had to account for the input, opinions, and, at times, demands of co-workers, directors, and the studios financing his projects. For the two-time Academy Award winner, working with a team hasn’t always been a bad thing. With the novel, though, he was free to just be whatever Sean Penn he wanted to be. The freethinking independence of novel writing has seeped over into the marketing demands that surrounding publishing. The actor isn’t buying into the branding requirements most author’s now rely on to sell books, choosing to view the book’s release and marketing blitz from a distance, with a certain sense of joy and irony. “Any brand that might be assigned to me,” Penn says, is a brand that is in crisis.”