Sean Penn pledges 'consensus' on jury

Cannes jurors will have no bias, actor-director says

CANNES -- Make no mistake about it, this is Sean Penn's jury, and all he is asking of his fellow jurors is an empty bladder and an open mind at the beginning of each of the 22 titles unspooling In Competition here.

Penn dominated the jury presentation here Wednesday and kicked it off by explaining to the gathered global hack pack that he and his fellow jurors will arrive at a "consensus."

Penn said he found it "insulting" to both himself and the other jury members that there is any suggestion of favoritism or bias toward movies in the lineup made by people who they may have worked with previously.

"We've all been involved in films we've cared about. I don't think there is bias involved," he said. "I don't see any of us judging the films we see as anything but responding to the enthusiasm of the movies."

But Penn couldn't resist remaining defiant when referencing his relationship with Clint Eastwood and his Oscar winning role in "Mystic River." Eastwood is bringing "Changeling" to a Competition slot here this year.

"If (Eastwood's) done a film worth rewarding, we're going to f***ing well reward it," Penn said.

It was left to German actress Alexandra Maria Lara to be the wide-eyed, delighted jury member, saying she felt "shaky" being in such esteemed company.

When asked how she felt sitting next to Penn, she paused just long enough for the jury president to growl a "c'mon" by way of encouraging her to answer.

The Penn show staggered to an end after fellow juror, the Iranian author and director Marjane Satrapi, asked the room if she could smoke for "medical reasons." Having lit up, Penn and French actress Jeanne Balibar quickly followed suit.

Penn will rule over a jury consisting of French director Rachid Bouchareb, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, Israeli/U.S. actress Natalie Portman, Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Italian actor, director and screenwriter Sergio Castellitto, Satrapi, Lara and Balibar.