Sean Penn would like to repurpose his Oscars into bullets after Will Smith’s slap heard ‘round the world.
The Oscar-winning actor, producer and humanitarian sat down with Variety for a new profile and his interview spans the gamut from thoughts on A.I. in Hollywood to his fury over the Academy’s refusal to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak at the 2022 Academy Awards following the Russian invasion. In recent years, Penn had been on the ground in Ukraine while filming a documentary about the besieged nation and its leader.
“The Oscars producer thought, ‘Oh, he’s not lighthearted enough.’ Well, guess what you got instead? Will Smith!” Penn told Variety, which described him as enraged when recounting the ordeal.
Penn continued that he had only met Will Smith once and even praised him as an actor, “He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so f— good in ‘King Richard.’”
But then he decried his behavior at the 2022 Oscars, and his peers for giving Smith a standing ovation after the “King Richard” actor had just slapped Chris Rock.
“So why the f— did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid f— thing?” he continued. “Why did I go to f— jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?”
“This f— bulls— wouldn’t have happened with Zelensky,” Penn added. “Will Smith would never have left that chair to be part of stupid violence. It never would have happened.”
Penn further described his reaction to Zelensky being snubbed for what ultimately unfolded in his place, saying he wanted to destroy his own two Oscars. “I thought, well, f—, you know? I’ll give them to Ukraine. They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians.”
The “Milk” actor 63, will be releasing “Superpower,” a documentary on the war in Ukraine, next week. The documentary, which was presented at the Berlin International Film Festival, began in 2021 as a closer look at Zelensky’s ascent from a star actor to respected political figure, but became something more after the Russian bombings in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv.
“We set out to tell a lighthearted tale of this comedic actor who had been elected president of Ukraine and instead became witness to a historic leader and his country’s war for freedom,” Penn said in a press release. “When you step into a country of such incredible unity, you realize what we [in the United States] have all been missing.”