HOLLYWOOD – Sean Penn fresh from his scoop in interviewing El Chapo for Rolling Stones, today sat down with Steven Avery, the convict at the center of Netflix’s hit serial Making a Murderer.
Sean Penn here. I know what you’re thinking. When am I gonna make a sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont High? When are you gonna resurrect Jeff Spicoli? Well, let me just tell you, there isn’t a day that goes by, not one minute that I don’t think about Spicoli and what he might be doing today. But today I’m off to interview another ‘criminal’. Yeah. I did El Chapo in Mexico and that was pretty Rad. I mean it was like Narcos, but you know in a different country. Now I’m after Steven Avery who I first knew about when I binged on Netflix’s Making a Murderer this Christmas. If you’re reading this I’m gonna assume you must have done the same. You must also have read the various controversies about the show, the rebuttals from the prosecutors and all that jazz so I’m not going to repeat all that. And obviously there are gonna be SPOILERS like I give a shit!
Steven Avery comes in and sits down. He looks exactly like he does on TV, well the later episodes, not like when he was a child or anything. He sits opposite me in the regulation prison garb that institutionalizes and dehumanizes too many Americans in our country and he smiles broadly.
‘So when are we gonna get a sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont High?’ he says.
‘Ha!’ I say, relaxing visibly (I imagine). He’s put me at my ease but at the same time I have a lot of questions for Steven Avery. ‘So do you really believe the cops framed you?’
‘Aloha Mr Hand!’
‘Yeah right. That’s a good line.’
‘Jeff Spicoli, man! I can’t believe I’m talking to Jeff Spicoli.’
‘That’s just a role in a movie. I’m more than that. I’m a journalist and a social activist. And I’m interested in your case because it seems to me that an injustice has been done and I would like to shed some light on it. So if you don’t mind can we get back to talking about your case and away from talking about Fast Times at Ridgemont High!’
‘Of course, Mr. Penn. I’m sorry. Sure. My case. For me the most important decision was not to allow what’s called third person liability to be used as part of my defense. This meant that…’
‘I mean Fast Times at Ridgemont High was years ago. It was my first film practically. And everyone goes on about it. What about Gangster Squad? What about Milk? What about Dead Man Walking which you should have some sympathy for?’
‘All good films I’m sure, but I’ve been in prison you see and…’
‘Mystic River, I am Sam, We’re No Angels with De Niro! De Niro! The Gunman and I’ve directed movies too.’
‘I’m sure they were…’
‘Into the Wild, for instance. Jeff Spicoli was years ago. And if it isn’t that, it’s you’re the guy who married Madonna! What’s Madonna like?’
‘You were married to Madonna?’
‘Of course I f*cking was! Where the f*ck have you been?’
And just as things got really interesting the guard came and told us our time was up. I’m still not sure whether Steven Avery is truly an innocent man, nor have I understood the complexity of his case in a way that is in any way deeper, but when we parted I could see in his relief that we had both gained something from this meeting. And I drove home feeling vindicated.