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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Penn's ideological outburst
Sean Penn and wife Robin Wright Penn
Sean Penn with wife Robin: In Edinburgh for gala screening
Actor and director Sean Penn has revealed his revolutionary leanings and attacked the abilities of Hollywood directors.

He told reporters at the Edinburgh Film Festival that he hoped a new generation of thought-provoking directors will come out of the anti-capitalist movement.

I think it would be an enormously patriotic movement to invest in the possibility of revolution

Sean Penn
Penn is in the Scottish capital for the UK première of his latest directorial feature, The Pledge, which stars Jack Nicholson and his wife Robin Wright Penn.

"I don't know if people value the thought of revolution any more," he said before the screening.

It would be an "enormously patriotic movement" to make young people aware of the possibility of revolution, he said.

He said he was trying to give his children a "broader interest" and make sure that not everything in politics and entertainment represented comfort.

"There's a lot of stuff going on around the world... like the protests in Genoa and Seattle, and young people are putting themselves on the line.

The Pledge
The Pledge took $20m (£14m) at US box office
"We're going to start seeing directors coming out of that group."

Penn was in Edinburgh with Wright Penn and their children, Dylan, 10, and Hopper, eight.

Wright Penn said she wanted their children to experience other cultures and not live a protected and "saccharin" life.

"I don't think most Americans know what a revolution is. Looking at our kids growing up, that's the one area where we're going to be very strict with them," she said.


The Pledge sees Nicholson play a middle-aged police officer who vows to hunt down the killer of a young girl.

Penn describes it as a "no bad deed goes unpunished tale".

It opened earlier in the year in the US to mediocre box office sales, but its entrance in the Cannes Film Festival in May saw it receive critical acclaim.

The Pledge is Penn's third directorial outing, having written and directed The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard, which also starred Nicholson and Wright Penn.

Bad directors

Penn said the poor standards of many directors had persuaded him to put acting on the back burner.

"After about 10 years of working as an actor, I realised that most directors are so bad that I thought: 'Why not give it a go?'

"It takes enormous pressure off to know that if you put two thoughts into your movie, you're already well up on them. I actually wish I had started sooner."

He was nominated for a best supporting actor for Dead Man Walking in 1996 and best actor for Sweet and Lowdown in 2000.

See also:

16 May 01 | Film
Cannes supports Penn's Pledge
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