Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, Sean Penn’s new book, is an interesting read. It’s funny and irreverent (like the author himself) and an interesting departure from his usual round of acting, directing, and helping out people in need after natural disasters. Penn says in an interview with Vogue that he realized he wasn’t playing well with others anymore, so he decided to write a book. It’s all his, he says, rather than a collaborative project where other people’s visions and opinions may clash with his own.
And when asked whether he plans on doing acting any more, the author says this: “I have a much better time writing books, and that’ll probably dominate my creative energies for the foreseeable future.” Whether that means he will never do any acting again is unclear, but as far as he knows right now, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff seems to be the beginning of a brilliant career in writing novels.
You can’t really blame him, suggests the same interviewer from Vogue Magazine, because Sean Penn has more or less done it all. He has written screenplays and poetry and now a novel. He has acted and directed movies. He has been boots on the ground in disaster areas. Between his screenplays and his #metoo poetry, Penn seems to have come up with an ironic way in Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff to lay it all out there the way a novelist does on his own, rather than as a collaborator (whether acting, writing, or directing) on a film.
He appears to be currently in the space where this novel writing is what he wants to do, how he sees himself, for the time being. Whether that continues on until he is done, or whether he switches gears again, remains to be seen.