Sean Penn is a Gun-Toting Merc in First Image from The Gunman

The Prone Gunman Book CoverSean Penn: action movie badass? If uber action producer Joel Silver has his way, that’s exactly what you’re going to be getting when “Taken” director Pierre Morel’s “The Gunman” opens next year with two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn taking on his first role in an honest to goodness action movie.

Yes, there was action in “Gangster Squad”, where Penn played the film’s Tommy Gun-wielding villain. But this is apparently an actual “action movie”. Okay, so I have no idea where the distinction is myself, and apparently neither does Penn.

He tells USAToday:

Here’s the funny thing. Calling it an ‘action film’ is kind of like calling Meryl Streep a sexy blonde chick. She is. But that really doesn’t tell the story of what she is at all. I don’t separate this in my mind from anything else I have done. It’s a very human story that deals with the same things exploited in action films, like warfare.

Whatever you say, Sean.

In the film, which co-stars Idris Elba, Javier Bardem, and Ray Winstone, Penn is playing Jim Terrier, a former Special Forces soldier and military contractor “who works peacefully for a non-government organization in the Congo. But Terrier gets drawn back into his violent past.”

Sounds like “Taken” minus the kidnapped girl.

Anyway, here’s your first look at Penn from “The Gunman”, which is based on the book “The Prone Gunman” by Jean-Patrick Manchette. From the sounds of the book and the movie, the two have almost nothing in common except the lead character’s name.

Sean Penn in The Gunman (2014) Movie Image

Paparazzi everywhere just had a heart attack at the sight of this image.