His new novel is prompting widespread ridicule but Penn is not the only star to dedicate his life to strange behaviour and bizarre career choices. Here are his nearest rivals
The hammering that Sean Penn has taken for his novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff particularly the fact that it ends with a poem that calls the #MeToo movement a toddlers crusade isnt purely down to the book being bad. No, its because the book has reinforced the popular notion of Penn as a scrunched-faced misery guy who takes his craft so seriously that it makes him awful to be around.
The question is not Is Sean Penn publicly unbearable? because clearly the answer to that is a hard yes. Instead, the question is Is Sean Penn the most publicly unbearable actor working today? Luckily for everyone, Ive crunched the numbers and figured out a top five.
5. Russell Crowe
What makes Russell Crowe awful is the tortuous lengths he goes to in order to camouflage his awfulness. Yes, he writes songs with guffy titles such as Oblique Is My Love, but then he records them under overcompensatory blokey bandnames such as 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. Yes, he reads poems in lieu of acceptance speeches, but then he threatens people with violence whenever theyre edited. Crowe has the soul of an artist wrapped in the body of a nightclub bouncer, wearing clothes of pure neediness. If it wasnt for his (very good) idea that Twitters block button should make the sound of a nuclear explosion, hed be much higher.
4. Jared Leto
Jared Leto once published a book called Notes from the Outernet. Jared Leto is in a band that once recorded a song called Vox Populi. Jared Leto once prepared to play Mark Chapman by living on a diet of melted ice cream pints mixed with olive oil and soy sauce. When Jared Leto played the Joker, he sent all his new castmates used condoms and anal beads. Jared Leto is really hard work.
3. Sean Penn
Sean Penns awfulness has always bubbled away under the surface – see the hectoring open letter he sent to the South Park guys, or his sour defence of Jude Law at the Oscars, or his intense, all-consuming refusal to have any fun whatsoever with any single aspect of his job. But, boy, has it blossomed. Although Penns role in the arrest of El Chapo initially seemed impressive, he managed to squander all that goodwill with a Rolling Stone article that felt like a parody of gruff literary pretension, right down to the opening Montaigne quote. And now theres Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, which contains the line, While the privileged patronize this pickle as epithet to the epigenetic inequality of equals, Bob smells a cyber-assisted assault emboldened by right-brain Hollywood narcissists which just gave me an aneurism. But these are the big leagues, and Penn hasnt quite got what it takes to top this list.
2. Jim Carrey
A lot of actors behave badly during shoots. But so far only Jim Carrey heavily bearded, sad-clown, retire-from-acting-to-pursue-his-art Jim Carrey has managed to turn that bad behaviour into a documentary made to rationalise his terrible artistic process. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, the film about the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon during which Carrey self-consciously absorbed the identity of his character to the tangible annoyance of everyone around him is a hymn to an ego inflated beyond all measure by the corrupting power of fame and money. Worse, it comes disguised as a jazzed-up inspirational Instagram quote of a message about Carreys notion that identity is nothing more than a relative mass of manifestation of consciousness. The whole thing should have been called Please Someone Punch Jim Carrey in the Mouth.
1. James Franco
Now, lets get some perspective here. The internet has come down on Sean Penn because he wrote a book. Compared to the master, thats nothing. James Franco has written several books books with titles such as Actors Anonymous and Straight James/Gay James and Real and Imaginary Conversations with Lana del Rey and birthed excruciating side projects, including the documentary Francophrenia (Or Dont Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is) and the band Daddy. He once interviewed his own female alter-ego. And now, just as he was teetering on the brink of mainstream acceptance, hes been forced to lie low thanks to allegations of sexual impropriety. Sean Penn may be unbearable, but not even he can hold a candle to James Franco.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us