How to save the world the clint way:
THE RED BULLETIN: You’re well known for your humanitarian activities, and last year you made a film, The Last Face, about aid workers. Are you trying to save the world?
SEAN PENN: If there ever was a moment in time when I thought I could do that, I’m now old enough not to be able to remember it.
But you’ve done an enormous amount of relief work in regions that have been struck by catastrophe, such as Haiti, southern Pakistan and New Orleans. What qualities do you need to get involved in that sort of thing?
I just think of myself as a facilitator, meaning I look for proactive people who have the talent required to do something for their fellow human beings.
And even though you’re a Hollywood star, you’re happy to play second fiddle in instances like these?
I’ve worked in the past with Clint Eastwood, who is also a jazz man. With jazz, you have four or five people jamming onstage, creating something magical. But if one of them says, “I can do that better than you,” then he screws it up for everyone else because you can’t make any more joint discoveries that way. You’ve got to be a team player.
What’s the biggest obstacle?
People aren’t as keen to show their love now as they might have been in the past. We have a generation where everyone wants to make their own mark rather than just live. The only solution to this is compromise. Just saying “me, me, me” all the time doesn’t work.
Learn more about Sean Penn’s Haitan Relief Organization J/P HRO, established in 2010: jphro.org.