Sean Penn, “Superpower” co-director, says Zelenskyy changed as Russia invaded: “Like he was born for this”


SEPTEMBER 13, 2023 / 11:43 AM / CBS NEWS

Two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn was with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when Russia invaded Ukraine — as he filmed a documentary that was intended to be about a comedy superstar-turned-president but ended up being about an existential threat to democracy. 

Penn said Zelenskyy changed that day in February last year, and he noticed the shift when the two were together in the bunker of the presidential palace during the start of the invasion.

“I met him the day before and .. when he entered the room on the day of the invasion, to our cameras, … it felt like he was born for this .. and it was a seamless rise,” Penn told “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday. “It was a different person, cellularly, than the one I had met the day before. And he had — and has — as the Ukrainian people do, just complete resolve.”

Video interview with Sean Penn here:


  1. His description of being there with Zel when the fiend putler unleashed genocide is moving and powerful.
    I had no idea he was with him at that time.
    I’m not normally a person who is impressed with the integrity of members of the acting profession, but Zel has changed that forever. He is a truly great man.
    And congratulations to Mr Penn, who also comes out of this very well.

  2. What a positive coincidence for historians, that this war had been documented in video right from the start, by a movie professional. I believe Sean Penn’s judgment to he truthful, because the highly experienced actor would have noticed any acting by Zelensky, being able to distinguish beetween grandstanding for the public and the real self. Ukraine has been enormously lucky to have this president, with such hidden talents, at the right time, when challenges are at the highest. I shudder when I think what would happen to my country, Germany, under the same circumstances. Olaf Scholz ain’t a bad chancellor, but he lacks the special leadership qualities, the inner strength to shoulder life-and-death decisions, that are necessary in times of war. Sadly, this shows in his indecisiveness about weapon deliveries, too. But maybe Zelensky will become a role model in future elections in Germany, too, making people compare other candidates with him. That’s the high standard leading politicians should strive to achieve in the future!

    • You can never tell how a ‘Leader’ will act when needed.

      Hence, ‘Cometh the Hour, cometh the Man.’

  3. I’d just like to remind everybody what I said about Zel, both before and at the beginning of this War.

    Just so I can be all smug and that.

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