Penn: Being a celebrity is like 'an obscene disease'
ACTOR Sean Penn has attacked stardom as "an obscene disease of celebrity" and revealed he had often thought about ducking out of the limelight.
His new movie, This Must Be The Place, which had its US premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah yesterday, casts him as a former rock star who turns his back on stardom and goes into exile in Ireland.
Penn made his comments after posing with co-star Eve Hewson, the 20-year-old daughter of U2 rocker Bono and Ali Hewson.
A casual Eve attended the film's premiere in snow-filled Park City, Utah, where the annual Sundance Film Festival is held.
In the film Penn (51) plays Cheyenne, a raven-maned, mascara-caked former pop icon whose look was inspired by Robert Smith of goth rockers The Cure. The childlike Cheyenne has left behind the glamour of his old life and now lives quietly in Dublin with his firefighter wife, played by Frances McDormand.
The film shows Cheyenne later embarking on a road trip across the United States to track down a former Nazi who brutalised his father in a concentration camp.
Eve plays a young friend of Cheyenne - and says she sees little resemblance in Penn's character and that of her real-life father.
She also told the media pack at Sundance how she prepared for her first high-profile role by watching all of Penn's films.
Working with Penn was "a little scary," she said. "When I got the part, I watched all his movies. All of them, going back to Bad Boys. So I was trying to do my homework.
"But when I met him, he was great. I think we had a good working relationship.
"I think he's got it down. He knows what to do. I wouldn't say my dad is anything like this character. Very, very different."