Controversy lightning-rod Sean Penn is at it again: The politically active actor has just arrived in Cuba with the hopes of interviewing Fidel Castro, according to a Cuban government-controlled television report. He will write a story for Vanity Fair, TMZ reports. Yet Penn’s rep says that reports of a Castro interview aren’t true, and he’s in Cuba for a “journalistic and creative” visit. This isn’t Penn’s first trip to Havana, and previously Penn interviewed Raúl Castro (and Hugo Chávez) in 2008.

Celebrities spend their social capital in all kinds of ways: vapid vanity projects, scandalous romantic choices, ostentatious consumption, bad behavior. Penn spends his on political projects, which ought to seem more worthy than a fleet of sports cars or a harem of fan girls, but instead it just seems equally indulgent. Which isn’t to say he shouldn’t do it — go nuts, Sean Penn! It’s that no matter the outcome or content of the could-be interview, we’ll only see it through the inescapable shadow cast by Penn’s celebrity.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Should Penn stick to acting, or can celebrity political activism be a good thing?

Photo credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Landov