Sean Penn only has one regret following his interview with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman – but it's not the fact he actually sat down with the now-captured Mexican drug lord.
Instead, Penn told Charlie Rose he is sorry that his Rolling Stone article "failed."
"I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs," Penn said in a new interview with Rose, set to air on Sunday's "60 Minutes." "Let's go to the big picture of what we all want. We all want this drug problem to stop. We all want them – the killings in Chicago to stop... and how much time have they spent in the last week since this article [has] come out, talking about that? One percent? I think that'd be generous."
Penn's interview with El Chapo was published by Rolling Stone one day after authorities took the notorious kingpin into custody – but Penn dispelled the notion that the interview may have led Mexican law enforcement to El Chapo's location.
"There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I, with El Chapo, that it was, as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted, 'essential' to his capture. We had met with him many weeks earlier... on October 2, in a place nowhere near where he was captured," Penn told Rose, in an interview conducted Thursday night in Santa Monica, Calif.
"Here are the things that we know: We know that the Mexican government, they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did," the actor continued. "Well, nobody found him before they did. We're not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation."
Rose asked Penn if he believes the Mexican government, "released this, in part, because they wanted to see you blamed and to put you at risk?"
"Yes," the actor said.
"They wanted to encourage the cartel to put you in their crosshairs?" Rose followed.
"Yes," Penn repeated.
"Are you fearful for your life?" Rose asked.
"No," a stone-faced Penn quickly responded.
So why did Penn even want to sit down with El Chapo?
"This is somebody who, upon whose interview, could I begin a conversation about the policy of the war on drugs. That was my simple idea," the actor said.
-- Eric Anderson