This Must be the Place might be the title of his new movie, but having been kitted out with bedraggled black thatch, fire engine red lipstick and low-dangling earring, Sean Penn could be forgiven for wondering if said place is somewhere he really wants to be.
Having said that, if Penn needs any reassurance about his wisdom in accepting the lead role in the film then he need only glance across at the presence in the director's chair, that being Paolo Sorrentino, the man behind Il Divo - for many people's money one of the best movies of last year.
Penn's role in Sorrentino's first foray into English-language cinema is as a retired rock star on the trail of the Nazi tormentor of his late father. Frances McDormand plays the wife of his character (named as Cheyenne on the film's IMDb page), while 19-year-old Eve Hewson features as a goth-punk music fan who Penn's ex-rocker meets along the way. And yes, before you ask, Hewson is the daughter of that prat out of U2. And yes, it is inspiring the way in which the offspring of famous millionaires so effortlessly segue into careers at the sharp end of the entertainment industry. So very, very inspiring.
Toni Servillo, who starred as ex-Italian prime minister Guilio Andreotti in Il Divo, is due to feature, with the rumour being that he will play the Nazi, who is hiding out in the United States. The movie's title is taken from a Talking Heads song (last heard closing out Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), and former frontman of that band, David Byrne, has been engaged to write the score. The screenplay was a collaboration between Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello, the latter being co-writer on The Passion, which debuts in competition at Venice early next month.
Shooting began last Monday in Dublin, where the pictures of Penn attempting to channel his inner Mrs. Doubtfire, sorry Robert Smith, were taken, and the $28m production is also due to visit the US. Pictures of scary Sean come courtesy of dlisted.
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