Source: HollywoodReporter - One year after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, how Sean Penn, Paul Haggis, Maria Bello and their friends are still fighting for Haiti’s survival amid unspeakable horror… SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE
“There’s a great thing Paul Newman said about his long marriage,” he says wryly. “ ‘As it turns out, we still love each other.’ That’s how I feel: ‘As it turns out, I’m still here.’ ”
If he seems perpetually tired, who can blame him? He’s ordering supplies, arranging funds, supervising staff and figuring out what to do if a hurricane hits, as it almost did just weeks ago. Deep gashes of sleep deprivation line his face. His eyes seem half-closed with fatigue. And yet he keeps on going, chain-smoking his American Spirits like lifesavers.“He’s crazy,” says one of his volunteers. ”He’s a genius,” says another.
Recently, after spending most of his time in Haiti, he has started to take breaks, alternating a few days in Malibu with a few days here. He’s also taken several weeks to shoot a film, This Must Be the Place. But always, he returns.
He speaks of a future when he might leave the camp in others’ hands, then wavers. On some level, he belongs here. “Let’s face it,” he admits, as the daylight begins to fade, “I’m a person that feels pretty alienated from the rest of the world and never felt understood by anyone...”
It’s night now. As we stroll through the camp one last time, bathed in newly installed lighting, pools of brightness intersecting with the dark, half-seen figures loom out of the shadows — children carrying pails of water, a woman nursing her baby. “Bonsoir!” a man calls happily from behind the flap of his tent. “Bonsoir,” Penn replies. The man has no idea this is a movie star. And no idea of the sacrifice it’s cost him to help.
But Penn knows the difference he’s made. And knowing this means he’s stuck here. Forever. “There’s no end point,” he says, drained to the point of collapsing. “This is where I’ll be when I’m not working, for the rest of my life.”
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