Sean Penn Rails Against Hollywood

It's no secret that Sean Penn isn't exactly down with Hollywood — the Oscar-nominated actor famously dissed former friend Nicolas Cage for "selling out" in films like Con Air, and he's threatened to quit acting altogether.

Unveiling his latest directorial effort, The Pledge, at Scotland's Edinburgh Film Festival last week, Penn took the opportunity to sound off about the evils of Tinseltown.

"In Hollywood … there's a sense that if you put three thoughts in a movie, then you've broken the law and nobody will come," he said.

"The American audience is very interested in being comfortable, so I was very happy to go out there and take a few people by surprise," he said of his film, which stars Jack Nicholson as a retired cop obsessed with tracking the killer of a small girl.

The Pledge, which opened in the United States in January to good reviews but to poor box-office business, is Penn's third stab at directing. His first two films, The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard, weren't much better received.

Penn's own pledge to never attend the Academy Awards still holds, says the actor-director, who received Best Actor Oscar nominations for Dead Man Walking and Sweet and Lowdown.

Even if he were to be nominated again, "I wouldn't treat as insult or compliment anything that happens in that building," said Penn.

Of course, "that building" will be a brand-new one for the next ceremony: The 2001 Academy Awards will be held in the new Kodak Theater in Hollywood, Calif.

The 41-year-old Penn was recently named "America's Best Actor" by Time magazine.