Sean Penn Fact File November 22, 2007 Sean Penn directs this months Oscar tipped film ‘Into The Wild’. We’ve compiled a list of 10 facts that help make this Hollywood icon so unique. Directing : Sean directs this months highly rated movie ‘Into the wild’. He made his directorial debut in 1991 with ‘The Indian Runner’, a film based on a Bruce Springsteen song. He also directed ‘The Crossing Guard’ in 1995 and ‘The Pledge’ in 2001 as well as music videos for Shania Twain and Peter Gabriel. Rock N Roll : Sean has secured his place in Rock and Roll fame thanks to a Dutch indie band that call themselves ‘Seanpenn’ Preparation : To prepare for his role in ‘I am Sam’ Sean stayed at LA Goal, a Los Angeles centre for the mentally handicapped. Bad-boy : Penn was arrested on the set of his 1988 movie ‘Colours’ and spent 32 days in prison after punching an extra that he caught taking photographs without his permission. Shotgun Wedding : During his 1985 wedding to Madonna, he took out his rifle and shot at low flying helicopters containing members of the paparazzi. First Acting Job : Sean’s first play was a stage version of the film ‘The Young Savages’, in which he played a mentally retarded boy accused of murder. Smoking Ban : Sean quit smoking on his 40th birthday for health reasons. Prior to that he was known as one of Hollywood‘s heaviest smokers, smoking four packs a day. Irish Blood : Sean’s mother was Irish and his father was of Russian and Lithuanian descent. Political Activist : Sean visited Iraq before the start of the war to assess the conditions for himself. He returned to Baghdad at the end of 2003, as a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Studies : Sean studied the unusual combination of Auto Mechanics and Speech at Santa Monica College.