Actor and director Sean Penn is reportedly on the ground in Ukraine, working on a documentary about the Russian invasion that is still in progress.
Vice Studios, which is producing the project in conjunction with Vice World News and Endeavor Content, confirmed Penn’s involvement to Variety and that the Oscar-winning actor had been in attendance at a press briefing Thursday in Kyiv where several Ukrainian officials spoke about the ongoing crisis.
Sean Penn is on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion, Vice Studios confirmed. The filmmaker appeared at a press briefing Thursday in Kyiv listening to government officials speak about the crisis. https://t.co/k88WDgbtGw pic.twitter.com/mSJas55W2v
— Variety (@Variety) February 24, 2022
Sean Penn is on the ground in Ukraine during the invasion filming a documentary. pic.twitter.com/RLrGTLTDD6
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) February 24, 2022
Penn also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who shared a silent video of the meeting along with the caption, “The more people know about the war in Ukraine, the more chances there are to stop Russia.”
Американский актер Шон Пенн в Киеве
Президент Украины опубликовал видео без звука в Instagram со встречи с американским актером: «Чем больше людей знает про войну на Украине, тем больше шансов остановить Россию», – написано на видео. pic.twitter.com/95fajTTgxd
— Аслан (@antiputler_news) February 24, 2022
Penn reportedly began laying the groundwork for the project with a visit to Ukraine in November of 2021, when he met with Ukrainian military officials and politicians.
Newsweek reported at the time:
Sean Penn has arrived in Kyiv to ‘tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion’ of Ukraine.
The Office of the President of Ukraine announced on Thursday that the American actor-director had landed in the capital to document the conflict. Penn also visited the country in November 2021 to work on a documentary he is making about Russian aggression.
Since his arrival, Penn has visited the Office of the President and spoken with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk, as well as local journalists and members of the Ukrainian military.
The Ukrainian government thanked Penn for drawing attention to what was happening on the ground, saying in a statement sent by the Ukrainian Embassy to Newsweek, “The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country. Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”
“Sean Penn is demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians. The more people like that—true friends of Ukraine, who support the fight for freedom—the quicker we can stop this heinous invasion by Russia,” the statement continued.
Several criticized the move on Twitter, suggesting that Penn’s involvement amounted to a “stunt.”
“Few things i loathe more than celebrity stunt war journalism,” producer Danny Gold tweeted.
Freelance reporter Sean Korsgaard agreed with Gold’s assessment of the situation, adding a photo of Penn — seated at a table with fellow actor Jack Nicholson and a much-younger Russian President Vladimir Putin — along with the following caption: “Especially given Penn’s the kind of shmuck who beats his wife, but has hugged it out woth[sic] multiple dictators… including that fellow on the right who has been making headlines recently.”
Especially given Penn's the kind of shmuck who beats his wife, but has hugged it out woth multiple dictators… including that fellow on the right who has been making headlines recently. https://t.co/TXJKq4NfWP pic.twitter.com/gDsYbaLWGd
— Sean CW Korsgaard (@SCWKorsgaard) February 24, 2022