Sean Penn Considers ‘Taking Up Arms Against Russia’ in Ukraine

The actor says he was inspired while filming a documentary in the besieged nation as Russian forces moved in

Sean Penn has been thinking about going to Ukraine and joining the besieged nation’s efforts to beat back the invading Russian forces.

After spending time there shooting a documentary about the invasion, Penn told Hollywood Authentic, “The only possible reason for me staying in Ukraine longer last time would’ve been for me to be holding a rifle, probably without body armor, because as a foreigner, you would want to give that body armor to one of the civilian fighters who doesn’t have it or to a fighter with more skills than I have, or to a younger man or woman who could fight for longer or whatever.”

In February, the Ukrainian government prohibited all men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country in order to maintain its defenses. Penn, 61, returned to the U.S. in March but said that being on the ground in Ukraine left him with a lingering urge to head back there.

“So, where I am in life is short of doing that, but if you’ve been in Ukraine [fighting] has to cross your mind,” he said. “And you kind of think what century is this? Because I was at the gas station in Brentwood the other day and I’m now thinking about taking up arms against Russia? What the fuck is going on?”

Penn—who consulted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the project before heading to the country and worked with him on the documentary while there—added that he wants to return once he figures out how he can be most useful to Ukraine’s resistance:

“My intention is to go back into Ukraine. But I’m not an idiot, I am not certain what I can offer. I don’t spend a lot of time texting the president or his staff while they’re under siege and their people are being murdered.”

Despite what some might say, Hollywood Authentic notes that President Zelenskyy himself thanked the two-time Best Actor Oscar-winner. After Penn visited the nation’s capital, the president’s office issued a statement reading, “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.”

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.