Long before he became the controversial White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration, Steve Bannon decided to try his hand at the movie business.
Back in 1991, the 38-year-old Goldman Sachs vet hooked up with none other than Sean Penn to help produce the actor’s directorial debut, The Indian Runner.
Bannon, who was recently removed from the National Security Council, became a topic of conversation during an interview between Penn and Death and Taxes magazine. Asked about his time working with Bannon on the film, Penn offered a scathing review of the once-fledgling producer.
“Bannon was then, as he is now, simply another bitter Hollywood wannabe who went rogue by way of toxic narcissistic iconoclasm,” Penn said. “But, deep in his heart, he’s just a conniving hateful bloated punk who despises mankind. And then there are also the bad things about him.”
After earning his first executive producer credit on the film, Bannon went on to invest in NBC’s Seinfeld in 1993, a decision that continues to pay off as the show runs in syndication. In 2004, he made a Ronald Reagan documentary, In the Face of Evil, and reportedly put up $1 million dollars to finance The Undefeated, a 2011 film about Sarah Palin’s political journey.
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Penn is not alone in pointing out Bannon’s Hollywood past. George Clooney recently referenced both Bannon and Donald Trump’s ties to tinsel town. “Donald Trump has 22 acting credits,” Clooney told the French outlet Canal+.
“He collects $120,000 a year in his Screen Actors Guild pension fund. He is a Hollywood elitist,” he added. (In fact, one of Trump’s financial-disclosure forms in 2015 revealed that he had $110,228 in a SAG pension fund.)
“Steve Bannon is a failed film writer,” he continued, referencing Bannon’s failed screenplay: a Shakespearean-inspired rap movie about the L.A. riots.
“He’s an elitist,” Clooney added. “That’s the reality.”