A Minute With: Sean Penn on 'Gunman,' Haiti and superheroes

Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:10pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sean Penn is not all gruff voice and intense gaze. He can have a good laugh too, like when he envisions himself as a superhero.

For the thriller "The Gunman," opening in U.S. theaters on March 20, the 54-year-old actor and activist talked to Reuters about what motivates him in both the movies and the causes he champions. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Q: What drew you to this story and the character of Jim?

A: It appealed to me in a way that a lot of action movies haven't appealed to me, because the consequences of violence were present throughout, and yet that didn't seem to create a ponderous weight on the energy of the picture.

Q: How important was it to have the backdrop of Democratic Republic of Congo?

A: What was important was that the epicenter of that narrative drive had a history of suffering intervention, be it political intervention or corporate intervention. And certainly DRC has had both, and continues to.

There were also some real-life parallels related to the mining interests that had happened there. That made it the appropriate choice.   Continued...

Actor Sean Penn poses with his Honorary Cesar Award during a photocall at the 40th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris February 20, 2015.   REUTERS/Christian Hartmann