Sean Penn Goes Into The Wild On Sundance

Generally, on celebrity interview shows, someone famous for their work (an actor, director, musician, etc) sits across from an interviewer and answers questions about their trade. Sundance Channel approaches the interviewing process quite differently with their series, Iconoclasts. Rather than a straight-up Q&A sessions cut with video clips containing samples of the artists’ work, the series pairs two talented people together and follows them as they head out into a more neutral environment where they can interact with one another in a much more casual way.

In the previous seasons, viewers were able to be a fly on the wall as two great minds spend time together and chat about what they do. Some of the earlier pairings have included Samuel L. Jackson and basketball star Bill Russell, Robert Redford and Paul Newman, Eddie Vedder and surfer Laird Hamilton and Dave Chappelle and Maya Angelou.

When the new season starts up this Thursday (10/25), Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer get together to trek through Alaska, following the path of Chris McCandless. Krakauer penned the book, “Into The Wild.” The book is a non-fiction account of McCandless, a backpacker who was found dead in an abandoned bus in Alaska. Penn directed the film version of the story, which premiered in theaters last month.

I had the opportunity to watch the first episode and was surprised at how interesting I found it to be despite the fact that I never read or saw Into The Wild. Generally, I think Penn comes off as a bit preachy and pretentious when he’s interviewed but the casual format of this show allows us to see him in a slightly different light. Love him or hate him, he’s a passionate guy and that comes through in this Iconoclasts episode. Throughout his and Krakauer’s journey, he discusses his interest in the story of McCandless and how he came to direct the film. He also briefly discusses the loss of his brother, the challenges of parenting and the reasons why he prefers filmmaking to acting.

The episode will definitely be of interest to people who love to climb as well as anyone who read Krakauer’s book. Then again, I’m not a climber and prior to this episode, had no interest in Into The Wild and I still thought the episode was great. It airs on Thursday, October 25th at 10:00 PM on Sundance Channel.

Here’s the rest of the schedule for this season of Iconoclasts:

Iconoclasts: Alicia Key + Ruby Dee (Thursday, November 1st at 10:00 PM)

Iconoclasts: Mike Myers + Deepak Chopra (Thursday, November 8th at 10:00 PM).

Iconoclasts: Howard Schultz + Norman Lear (Thursday, November 15th at 10:00 PM).

Iconoclasts: Wynton Marsalis + John Besh (Thursday, November 22nd at 10:00 PM).

Iconoclasts: Madeleine Albright + Ashley Judd (Thursday, November 29th at 10:00 PM).

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.