You most likely know Sean Penn as the slacker in Fast Times At Ridgemont High or for his iconic role in Mystic River. Recently, however, his career has taken a bit of a detour as he’s made the transition from acting to writing and now he’s sitting down with Rolling Stone to discuss his debut novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. The book has attracted quite a bit of controversy considering the titular character is an international assassin who kills elderly people with a mallet but, regardless, Penn stands by his work and hopes to change people’s perceptions of morality.
In the interview, he discusses a particular scene in which Bob writes a letter to the landlord, telling him our nation is in need of an assassin. Though the line is controversial and a clear reference to the current political climate, Penn insists there was no blowback from his publisher in terms of keeping that scene in the book. He also talks about how he believes it’s important to write what you want to write and not to pander to any particular demographic. His inspiration is primarily derived from Harry Crews of whose work Penn is a big fan. He also discussed drawing inspiration from such prolific writers as Terry Southern and Thomas Pynchon. Originally, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff was released only as an audiobook.
However, it has since been released as a novel and Penn explained that this was due to his lack of knowledge and experience regarding book publishing. He also talked about how important it is to push the envelope as much as you can with your writing because if you don’t tackle the hot-button issues, nobody else will. While he does intend to keep writing, he’s also not leaving acting either. He hopes that Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff will lead to many more novels in the future though he’s unsure of how many of them he’ll actually be able to get published. So wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and hope his debut novel ends up being a big success.
Read the full interview here: