Faces of a private but public split
Hollywood star Sean Penn was spotted chugging back one vodka tonic after another at a five-star Cape Town hotel between film shoots featuring his former fiancée, Charlize Theron.
Penn was a regular fixture on the Mount Nelson Hotel’s patio this week. Seated at a table overlooking the property’s lush garden, he stared into space, smoking cigarette after cigarette and sipping several tonics in one sitting.
“He’ll sommer finish a whole bottle of vodka! He’s a very nice man, though. Very down to earth and unassuming,” said one witness.
Penn may have been drowning his sorrows from the break-up with Theron after their passionate 18-month relationship.
He had also begun the legal process to adopt Theron’s three-year-old son, Jackson.
It has been widely reported that Theron broke up with him two months ago by “ghosting” – she just stopped taking his calls and responding to his messages.
On set at the Cape Town International Convention Centre this week, Penn (54) looked drawn and dishevelled as the city’s infamous South Easter wreaked havoc with his hair.
Theron (39) also looked tense around her ex-lover, frowning furiously when the cameras stopped rolling. She was photographed in oversized sunglasses standing around smoking.
But on Friday, a film insider told City Press that the working relationship between the former couple had been “all professional, no juice” this week.
The source said filming was set to wrap up yesterday.
The former couple found themselves working together this week doing reshoots for The Last Face – which Penn directed and Theron starred in – filmed in South Africa over three months last year.
A source who worked on the film told City Press in an earlier interview that last year Penn and Theron had several fights on set.
“Of the 63 shooting days, I’d say there were about three major disagreements. The thing is, Sean is a perfectionist and Charlize is just as outspoken. So you can imagine,” the source said.
This week, Penn also enquired around the hotel for a pregnant black woman because he needed a newborn baby to appear in The Last Face.
He reportedly offered willing candidates R1 500 for a 20-minute shoot.
There are no laws in South Africa preventing a newborn baby from being filmed, while, according to The Guardian, it’s illegal to use babies younger than 15 days old in movies in the US.
The Last Face features Theron and Javier Bardem as doctors who fall in love while working in refugee camps.
The movie is expected to be released close to Christmas this year.
LOVE LOST Charlize Theron and Sean Penn during a film shoot in Cape Town