Sean Penn arrived at the Cannes Film Festival for a Haitian charity benefit, the first such event officially sponsored by the fest in over 30 years.
From the stage, flanked by festival topper Gilles Jacob and Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele, Variety’s Steven Gaydos noted how “Sean really embodies what one person can do and the change they can make.”
Penn presented the awards to Shailene Woodley and Ezra Miller, noting, “I like this trophy particularly because it’s to young people, honest talent we’ve been waiting for a while to see.”
Woodley looked at Penn. “This is crazy! I’m on a stage in France with you! And getting an award!” she exclaimed.
Miller, sporting an Occupy Wall Street badge, thanked “We Need to Talk About Kevin” helmer Lynne Ramsey and the fest, “Because they’ve validated my ridiculous dreams since I was 14 years old.”
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At the cocktail after-party held on a Hotel Martinez seaside balcony, Penn reflected on the unexpected turn his life has taken due to the Haiti crisis.
“I thought I’d be down there for a couple of weeks,” he said, “and now it’s going to be part of me for the rest of my life.”