Oprah Talks to Sean Penn
Oprah: What were you feeling when everybody rose to their feet? That was cool.
Sean: I had only one line prepared, which was "I'm the living proof that this is not a popularity contest." But how do you say that when they're standing? [Laughs.] I didn't feel I did something better than I'd done before, but I did do something I was very proud of.
Oprah: People have said that your performance as Sam Byck is one of your finest.
Sean: It was the hardest thing I've ever done. My wife thinks it's the best. I don't call it my best, because either I've done something well or I haven't. I think I did this one well. I'd go back and fix some things in everything I've done. Usually, if I've done something really well, I'd only reshoot half the film.
Oprah: What feeling do you want people to walk away with after one of your movies?
Sean: I want them to think there's a possibility that things can change. In a book called Freedom from the Known, Krishnamurti writes that the greatest violence one person can do to another in an intimate relationship is to say "You can't change." That's the bullet.
When you leave the theater. you're either more alone or you're less alone. If there's a single thing I want people to take away from my films, I want them to walk away feeling less alone.