Thursday, May 28, 2009

May Flowers, Sean Penn

May Flowers, evenings at 11... or thereabouts

Playing against type is an ancient Oscar-winning trick but it only works if you do it really well (or if enough people are hoodwinked into believing you've done it really well). A lot of people, including myself and Academy voters, rethought Sean Penn last fall due to his twinkly and affable work in Milk. The famously sour Penn was suddenly funny, likeable, warm... sweet even.

Sean Penn in 1996. Sweet smiling Sean was always in their somewhere.

In other words, not "Sean Penn".

How on earth will he follow Harvey Milk up?

He himself probably isn't feeling the pressure, "Great Actor" status having been granted long long ago, but I was curious. Would he return to directing, to more typically Penn parts? Turns out the 48 year-old actor is booked until he's 50. At least. He's got five new identities lined up for our cinematic enjoyment over the next two years.

Contemplative Narrating Penn: In Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (previous post) he plays "adult Jack" and since the film is focused on a father (Brad Pitt) and his three boys... I guess that means Sean Penn is playing Brad Pitt's son. Brad really did age in reverse!

Political Penn: In Doug Liman's Bush era dramatization Fair Game he's Joseph Wilson, the administration's nemesis and husband to CIA Agent Valerie Plame, played here by Naomi Watts. It's their third time playing Very Intense Screen Couple (see also: 21 Grams and The Assassination of Richard Nixon).

Tough Penn: I'm not sure who he is playing in Cartel, but it involves guards protecting a lawyer trying a mafia case.

Slapstick Penn: He's "Larry" in the Farrely Brothers The Three Stooges... but you knew that already. Jim Carrey is "Curly" and Benicio Del Toro is "Moe"

Rock Star Penn:
I saved the oddest one for last. Odder than The Three Stooges? Maybe not. Okay okay, I saved the furthest away for last. Paolo Sorrentino, the Italian writer/director behind the award winning Il Divo, is prepping a movie called This Must Be the Place. The plot is unusual. A retired rocker (Penn) decides to find his dad's executioner, a former Nazi.

Excited for Penn's upcoming projects? Or are you more excited about the continuing drama of the on again off again on again off again on again off again (I actually think that's the right number of times) Robin Wright Penn divorce? Can those two crazy kids make it work? Or make it work again as the case may be?

8 comments:

Rachel said...

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn = third time working together playing intense couple. The Assasination of Richard Nixon also happened.

Wayne B. said...

Rock Star Penn sounds most interesting.

Drew said...

I'm looking forward to Fair Game, more for Naomi Watts than Sean Penn though.

Glenn said...

Loving Sean Penn right now. He can do no wrong (and Robin Wright-Penn is clearly one of the blandest actors around so I don't even care about that). Am anticipating all of these to varying degrees. Although Doug Liman is a bit of a step down for "Political Penn" after the likes of Sydney Pollack.

NATHANIEL R said...

Rachel -- I have corrected!

Davey said...

After "Milk," my interest has been renewed in Sean Penn's work. I'll look forward to a couple of these films. Not feeling the "3 Stooges" bit, but maybe that will end up being a comedy gem and not the disaster that it sounds like.

As for him and Robin, I hope that they get it together soon. But I want to see Robin with an Oscar nomination soon! It's time! Get crackin'.

arthistorygirl said...

Well you mentioned his personal life- last i read he was with Natalie Portman?! I love her work. What do you think the attraction was there?! (did you see how hot she was in Closer?)

philippine flowers said...

Well, seems they really like flowers.Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

-pia-