5:49pm PT by Patrick Shanley
Sean Penn Recalls Working With Steve Bannon on 1990s Film
Sean Penn had a busy week, appearing on CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and comedy Central's The Daily Show With Trevor Noah in New York City on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, before making a final stop at TBS' Conan in Los Angeles on Thursday to promote his new novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. The book, Penn's debut, has been harangued by critics.
Penn first made headlines when he lit up a cigarette and spoke with Colbert about the inspirations for his new novel while admittedly dealing with an Ambien hangover from a red-eye flight the night before.
On Thursday, the Oscar winner dropped by Conan O'Brien's show in Burbank, looking slightly less out-of-it, where he discussed his relationship with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who produced one of Penn's films in the 1990s.
“He exerted the same level of charm that he does today," Penn quipped. The actor went on to say that he thought Bannon was a "crook" when he met him, and that he "didn't even realize it was the same Steve Bannon" when Donald Trump's presidential campaign began in full swing.
Penn also shared a picture of himself on a recent airplane trip, where it "was possible there had been some embibement (sic)," and noted, "I think I’ve always felt the most piece of mind when I’m most bedraggled.”
Earlier in the week, Penn, with disheveled hair and gruff voice, loosely addressed his book's connection to Trump and also spoke of his decision to quit acting with Colbert on The Late Show.
"The girl I fell in love with was going into a movie theater in the dark with strangers and seeing something that might last forever," Penn said of acting, "and now there is so much content, I can't keep track of it and nothing seems special." Colbert replied, "So, you're blaming this on Netflix?"
The next evening, chatting with The Daily Show's Noah, Penn appeared slightly more put-together. Not smoking and with his hair manageably coiffed, he further discussed his novel with the host. When asked by Noah about a passage in the book in which the main character sends a threatening letter to the president, named "Mr. Landlord," and parallels some have drawn between the fictional scenario and real-life threats to Trump, Penn responded, "Writing for me ... starts as melody before lyrics. This whole idea, that is not a new idea, that a writer or musician has a muse ... becomes surprising. ... I didn't declare the mission, I just accepted it."
Keeping the conversation on Trump, Penn noted his response to the president's alleged "shithole" comments about Haiti, where the actor has volunteered over the years. "It was bullying, really cruelly bullying. So insensitive," he said.
Penn ended his Daily Show appearance with a call for impeachment of Trump.