Sean Penn wasn’t about to abandon his work.
Appearing this week on a Fox News panel, the actor revealed that he was warned by a former U.S. National Security Advisor to flee Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.
“I just heard from [Former National Security Adviser] Robert O’Brien and he said to get the f**k out,” Penn recalled.
The actor went to Ukraine in November 2021 to film a documentary about the country, and he continued filming even as Russian forces mounted their attack.
He also revealed that he was warned about going to Ukraine to begin with, as the U.S. government anticipated the Russian attack.
“Our government is extremely good at caution,” Penn said on Fox News. “American diplomats had been pulled out of and other Foreign Service officers pulled out of Kyiv. [People said,] ‘Don’t go. There’s nobody there… and so on.”
He added, “I was speaking to Robert [O’Brien] the whole time here. He knows the region much better than I do, and I made it. We calculated that it would be fine, whatever happened. I don’t think anybody wanted to give up a level of denial that [the war] would happen because they would be giving up hope that [the invasion] wouldn’t happen.”
Penn also talked about meeting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“We met with [Zelensky], a man in a suit, and the next morning the Russians invaded. We went back. We were with President Zelensky and waited for him at a meeting point. And the next time I saw him, he was in camos and the world had changed,” he said.