Why Sean Penn Tossed Aside Acting for His First Book Bob Honey and #MeToo

He is a man of many talents. From a movie star, director, producer, and a writer, Sean Penn has to his name a plethora of opinion pieces not to mention his interviewing skills. As a war correspondent, he sat down with the like of Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, Raúl Castro, the Cuban president as well as the famous drug mogul, El Chapo. He has also been involved in several charity events including J/P Haitian Relief Organization that provides relief for Haiti.

Not long ago, he quit acting to become a novelist with the Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff being his first. The picturesque book is nothing but hilarious and it paints a picture of a salesman whose shadow gig is working as a contract killer for the U.S government. With its extreme satire, The New York Times described it as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma and cloaked in crazy.”


The book has caused a stir among the critics and #MeToo, a poem Penn wrote for the book has earned him ridicule from the lot who otherwise think he and Bob Honey is the same person – well, maybe they are, or not. Meanwhile, the novel has provoked enough variations from the critics, but what does Penn himself say?


As opposed to a film where at the end of the shoot you walk away proud of something that wasn’t your ideal, as well as collaborating with others, having a book under your name gives you something to stand on, something you don’t have to make apologies for it, says Penn.


Penn noted that the decision to write a book sprung from his recognition that playing with the masses wasn’t something he fancied anymore. He says he got tired of investing too much time and effort to get paid and writing a book has the same effect only by showing what you got theoretically.


Penn says he has another thing coming up, which definitely isn’t a movie as he is not involved in any acting projects at the moment. However, he says that there is a movie he is still considering to direct. Nevertheless, he claims writing currently fits him well.


Regarding the praises that his book has received with a few out there comparing him to writers like Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson, whom he knew, and others including Mark Twain, E. E. Cummings among others, Penn noted no direct influence saying being influenced by someone comes from the excitement of the words. He leaves it up to the reader to read and establish the stand.

Bob Honey was composed out of dictation, something Penn says he found easier than using a laptop thanks to many years he spent on the screen. He put to rest the notion that #MeToo and the novel are countervalent saying it’s all about perspective and how people interpret the book’s two dimensions; one that creates social equality and one that increases superficiality. Penn says that those who consider the book an opinion piece picked up the wrong book. He also considers the branding associated with the book light and ironic.


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