Thursday, August 18, 2005

Penn's Iran Dispatches Ready to Run - Aug 17, 2005 - E! Online News

Penn's Iran Dispatches Ready to Run - Aug 17, 2005 - E! Online News: "Penn's Iran Dispatches Ready to Run

by Charlie Amter
Aug 17, 2005, 4:40 PM PT

When it comes to Sean Penn's latest journalistic experiment, it's a case of better late than never.

The actor, dispatched to cover the Iranian elections two months ago, will finally see his byline in the San Francisco Chronicle come Monday, according to editor Phil Bronstein.

The Chronicle Executive Vice President and editor confirmed to E! Online Wednesday that Penn's long-in-the-works report will likely be divvied up into five segments, with one running each day next week. Bronstein added that Chronicle staffers are "still laying the piece out" and that "the number of days could change."

Asked why it took so long to get Penn's story into print, Bronstein said, "It's a process you don't want to rush into."

The editor, known in pop-culture circles as the former Mr. Sharon Stone, said readers can expect Penn's "personal observations" and "personal experiences" in the multipart series.

In any case, the Mystic River Oscar winner wasn't writing for the money. Asked how much Penn might expect for his freelance gig, Bronstein said, "We haven't even discussed that yet."

Penn's assignment has already generated some headlines. In June, wire reports said the novice newshound spoke out to students at an event in Iran, taking a timeout to note chants of "death to America" hurt the peace process between the U.S. and Iran.

"I understand the nature of where it comes from and what its intention is," he told a film student at the event, per Reuters. "But I don't think it's productive because I think the message goes to the American people and it is interpreted very literally."

Days later, Penn had his camcorder briefly confiscated by authorities after he taped a peaceful demonstration, a sit-in led by women, at Tehran University.

This isn't the first time the actor has moonlighted as a Chronicle correspondent.

Penn, who turned 45 Wednesday, visited Iraq in 2002 for the Chronicle, preaching peace and angering many who felt the actor was acting against America's best interest.

He returned to Iraq the week before Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 for another assignment. In January of 2004, the Chronicle ran Penn's account on "how life had changed after the American invasion" in Baghdad.

As for his day job, Penn will next be seen in Sony's big screen adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's political novel All the King's Men this December."

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