The Penn Method

He has caused commotion on and off the screen. Now Sean Penn has two big films, a real home life and a healthy view of his job.

If every face tells a story, Sean Penn's could be the great American novel. It's long and tough, complexly weathered, as if battered by hurricanes, twisters, unseasonable dry spells. The high hair, dudish sideburns and smoldering glower give him the aspect of a mug on a WANTED poster--a lifer more than a lover. The curved scar slicing through his right eyebrow is the signature to a portrait already rich in character. Other actors sell the moviegoer their affability; Penn's face is a confrontation with the dangerous unknown. It dares you to go on the bumpy ride that is so often a...

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