Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sean penn + jon krakauer on sundance channel "iconoclasts"

last weekend i watched the "sean penn + jon krakauer" episode of "iconoclasts." it was actually a rebroadcast of the first episode of season three (now in its 4th season) of the sundance channel original series, "iconoclasts." the episode retraced christopher mccandless' tragic journey into the alaskan wilderness - which was documented in krakauer's book, "into the wild," and then made into a quasi-documentary film by penn.

jon krakauer originally wrote up the mccandless story in an article for "outside" magazine. he expanded the article into a well-researched and documented account of mccandless' story in the book "into the wild." sean penn not only read the book, he read it twice in the same night - and immediately wanted to film the story. between that initial impulse and the first camera shot of the filming took a more than a couple of years - and is told in the opening part of the iconoclast episode.

penn and krakauer journey by car, train, helicopter and foot along the same road traveled by mccandless. in one hilarious vignette, we see the improbable "carding" of sean penn when he purchased a bottle kaluha (to mix white russians and make a toast to mccandless when they reach the bus)! penn's celebrity also sneaks in when he's greeted by fans at the hotel, as they checked in. but the only off-key element of the entire film is the ice-climbing coda tacked on at the conclusion?

and that isn't a rhetorical question! but for a huge fan of the book, and penn's film adaption (which i reviewed last year), that was a small tangent, well-worth enduring. seeing these two, and their thoughtful discussion about the merits of chris mccandless and his tragic journey made me want to reread the book (and rent the dvd again) - which i may do.

sundance channel is rebroadcasting the episode again tonight (6/24 at 8:00). try to catch it. if not, here is a short clip:

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