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Variety screening of ‘Into the Wild’

Sean Penn gets behind camera for film adaptation

The event: Variety Screening Series of “Into the Wild” on Monday at the Arclight in Hollywood.

The guest list: Director Sean Penn and musician Eddie Vedder with cast members Emile Hirsch, Kristen Stewart, Marcia Gay Harden, Jena Malone and Brian Dierker.

The talk: “The will is a function of the heart and I needed an actor with the size of heart that seemed to match what showed in Chris’ will,” said Penn about casting Hirsch to play the lead role of young wanderer and adventurer Christopher McCandless.

The true story of McCandless’ travels from suburban Virginia to his final destination in the wilds of Alaska left a deep impression on both Hirsch and Vedder. The Pearl Jam frontman recorded the soundtrack to the film, providing the musical narrative to McCandless’ ill-fated odyssey. “I thought he had a real healthy sense of rebellion, and it was pure and it was positive and I was honored to take part in representing this kid who to me is an American hero.”

‘Into the Wild’ photo gallery