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BEFORE NIGHT FALLS

Since his feature film debut in Harold Becker's Taps in 1981, SEAN PENN has distinguished himself as one of the most powerful and versatile actors of his generation. He has appeared in over 25 films and has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, for his 1999 perfor mance as a brilliant, erratic jazz guitarist in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, and for his 1996 performance as a condemned prisoner in Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking. Both roles also garnered Penn Golden Globe nominations.

Penn will next be seen in Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight of Water. His most recent roles films include Philip Haas' Up at the Villa and Spike Jonze's surprise hit, Being John Malkovich, in which Penn played himself. In late 1998, Penn received critical acclaim for his performances in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line and Anthony Drazen's Hurlyburly, adapted from David Rabe's play. For the latter, Penn was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 1998 Venice Film Festival. The previous year, Penn received critical accolades for his work in David Fincher's The Game, Oliver Stone's U-Turn and Nick Cassavetes' She So Lovely, for which he received the prestigious Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Among Penn's many praised film characterizations are the sleazy lawyer in Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination; an Irish-American gangster in Phil Joanou's State of Grace; a charismatic sergeant in De Palma's Casualties of War, an L.A. street cop in gang territory in Dennis Hopper's Colors; a small-town boy drawn into a life of crime by his father in James Foley's At Close Range; a troubled American drug dealer- turned-traitor in John Schlesinger's The Falcon and the Snowman; a young man heading off to fight in World War II in Richard Benjamin's Racing with the Moon; a tough juvenile delin quent in Rick Rosenthal's Bad Boys; and the ultimate pothead surfer in Amy Heckerling's classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Additional credits include Robert Downey's Hugo Pool; Louis Malles' Crackers; Neil Jordan's We're No Angels; Judgment in Berlin, directed by Penn's father, the late Leo Ryan; and the documentaries The Last Party.

Behind the camera, Penn has written and directed two acclaimed feature films: 1991's The Indian Runner, starring David Morse, Viggo Mortenson, Patricia Arquette and Charles Bronson; and 1995's The Crossing Guard, starring Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, Robin Wright Penn and David Morse. He is currently completing his third feature as director, The Pledge, starring Jack Nicholson, Vanessa Redgrave and Robin Wright Penn.

Penn has also garnered acclaim for his stage work. Among his theatrical credits are "Hurlyburly," under the direction of playwright David Rabe; the Broadway production "Heart land"; Albert Innaurato's "Earthworms," John Durne's "Slab Boys" and "The Girl on the Via Flem inia."

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