We’ve known Sean Penn as first, an act, then as a director, producer, and screenwriter. In recent years Penn has become a political activist, and interviewer. He has had conversations with a couple presidents and a drug lord, even. But earlier, in 2018, Sean Penn released his debut novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. It’s the story of a salesman whose passion for his political views lead him to commit violent crimes. Critics seem to either hate it or love it. And since Penn has – sometimes, lightly – veiled his personal opinions through out the book, readers have had strong responses. Especially when concerning a #MeToo poem Penn included in the novel.
Sean Penn interviewed with Vogue about Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. When asked about the difference between writing a book and making a film, Penn said he liked finishing something that is completely his. He commented on the benefits and failures of having to work with others on a creative project, saying one might “walk away proud or … with great disappointment.”
As the interview went on, Sean Penn explained that his writing will be the center of his creative work for sometime. He doesn’t have any acting roles in film coming up but he hinted at another written piece in progress and gave no further details on the subject. Penn went on saying he was tired of depending on “creative collaborators” and “financial backing”.
Sean Penn’s writing in Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff has been compared to several authors such as Mark Twain, E.E. Cummings, Hunter S. Thompson and William Burroughs. When asked if the latter authors had influence on his work, Penn said, “influence is really in just the excitement that comes of their freedom with words”. In Sean’s opinion, he wanted his book to be read and “leave that door open”. Sean Penn does say that the writing style in his novel was crafted over the years through his screen writing projects and prefers dictation since he likes “moving faster than my fingers.”