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Interview with Sean Penn

Aired October 14, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: He's intense.


SEAN PENN, ACTOR: How can I help you find my daughter's killer? I mean, I'm just asking. Let's forget about that --


MORGAN: He's involved.


PENN: This many families just went from this very unsafe place to that very safe place. It feels good.


MORGAN: He's controversial.


PENN: You have what I call the "get the N word out of the White House" party, the Tea Party.


MORGAN: He's a two-time Academy Award winner who puts his movie where his mouth is.

Tonight, Sean Penn on his work on the frontline of disaster and the drama unfolding on Wall Street.


PENN: I'd like to see the president go and interact with the protesters.


MORGAN: And you won't believe who the police dragged off to jail in those protests. Not the usual suspects. I'll show you.



MORGAN: It's pretty dramatic day for the occupied Wall Street protests, marches and the rest across the country and some very rough arrests, too. Thousands on the streets and police from New York to San Diego struggling to coral demonstrators.

New York, more than a dozen arrested after blocking traffic and throwing bottles and dozens more arrested in Denver and San Diego, all this after protesters near Wall Street declared victory. New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg pulled back on the threat to move them out of the area they're occupying.

We'll talk to two arrested protesters a little later in the show.

Sean Penn is a two time Oscar winner, but many say his greatest role is that of activist.

And he joins me tonight.

Sean, welcome.

PENN: Thank you.

MORGAN: When you see what's happening in Wall Street with the Occupy Wall Street protests, do they resonate with you?

Is that the kind of fury that you have felt about issues over the years?

PENN: It resonates a great deal and in many ways, some of them complicated. I was born in 1960, so the -- the primary television show that my brothers and I grew up watching was the Vietnam War. I grew up in a family that was opposed to it and I later came to find that I owned my own then adopted beliefs that was an illegal war, an unjust war, and a horrible tragedy.

On the other hand, I was very concerned about movements because many in the same movements that protested the war were the ones that were calling our troops baby killers when they returned. Not -- I won't say a dominant amount, but enough that it colors -- it colored, for me, the -- my will to be involved in movements.

On the other hand, one does understand that historically and currently, any major change, you're going to have to take a leap of faith not only with an organized movement, but one that comes from a common sense of what's in the ether and the common need.

MORGAN: I mean, it feels a little disorganized, the Occupy Wall Street. Having said that, there are many, many issues -- particularly economic issues right now in America -- for people to get very angry about.

So I can totally -- I've been waiting for this. I've been amazed it's taken so long for the American public, who are losing their jobs, losing their homes and having this massive disconnect with Washington to get angry like this. PENN: Yes. I think you have to be a little patient with something like this being organized if you're going to be patient with the criminality that was so much of Wall Street.

So I applaud the spirit of what's -- what's happening now on Wall Street. I hope that increased organization can come to it. And I think the media plays a big part of it, because it's going to stay -- you know, I saw -- you say that you thought that it was gaining momentum. I saw another network this afternoon trying to encourage the idea that it was losing momentum.

Well, the real -- the real thing, in part, it's going to be what's best for television.

But I -- but this generation -- and this does begin, I think, significantly, with the Arab spring, is trying to -- starting to tell the world that we cannot be controlled by fear anymore. And we will not be denied because if you don't put us on television, we've got our computers at home and we can make a lot of noise.

MORGAN: But with social networking, Twitter, Facebook, stuff like that, they're almost circumnavigating any authority establishment attempts to suppress these kind of uprisings, whether it's in the Middle East or America. You know, the youth, in particular, can get around it now. They have their own voice. They can express themselves and garner other interest, other enthusiasm.

That's why you see it spreading around city to city, I think.

PENN: Yes. Yes. No, there's no question about it. And yet the component that -- that is where do we go from there with -- with successes in these things, again, I go back to the Arab spring, you know, Egypt. And, for example, we have 85 million people, some sectarianism and so on, a lot of different powers going -- going forward.

It's going to take economic plans. It's going to take tourism, which is significant there.

And then -- and then you have a -- and, you know, what happens in Libya, where the interim government is actually encouraging leadership, not trying to rob the Libyans of their revolution.

So, in these situations, i.e., you know, I -- I just find that it's -- it's been a long time coming. And I'd like to see the president go and -- and interact with the protesters in New York, in particular, and for this to become not just a protest dialogue, but a home to home dialogue of --

MORGAN: What do you -- what do you make of what's happening to your country?

I mean, are you proud to be an American right now?

PENN: I'm more proud to be an American than ever. And I've always been proud to be an American. I want to -- I'll tell you a funny story, because there's a perception about me that's gone as far as the word "traitor." I was working in a -- a small town in South Dakota called Carthage, about 180 people. I think a -- Republican to a man and woman. This was at a time where certain pundits and others were referring to me with that "T" word.

And I remember these people were so fantastic and we had such a -- they were so civil. And this is the -- the television spirit, those things that were being reported about people like myself and -- that had a -- that were offering different opinions, let's say.

It was very different than what was happening in the street.

And so when I -- when I left, I remember getting on the airplane and my friend was in the back of the plane. And he says, "Admit it, Sean, Republicans are nicer than Democrats."


PENN: And --

MORGAN: And are they?

PENN: I think largely people with simpler thoughts are more polite.

MORGAN: Were you massively hopeful, like so many, about Barack Obama becoming president?

And, if so, do you feel disillusioned, disappointed now?

What have been your thoughts in the last two or three years?

PENN: I don't think that that matters as much as -- in the way that it's often talked about. And all over the world, this is being proven.

What is Barack Obama?

He is -- first, a symbol of leadership for our country. As Bill Clinton, despite the fact that, in both cases, these are Democrats, they are inspirational minds. They are inspirational of nature. I think that -- that nobody is ashamed of the man that is Barack Obama, though there are many people disappointed with his choices.

But as long as we can say this is what represents us, and I can be proud of that, then it has to be our job first -- we have to be pushing him and supporting him in the movements forward.

And I think that, you know, we -- that there was enough noise when it came to, for example, Afghanistan. I think this is a -- was a big, big, big mistake.

MORGAN: I followed your views on Iraq, Afghanistan and so on.

Do you think that this whole concept of America being the world's policeman has just got to stop?

Do you think America should become -- I mean, I'll be much more selfish about his foreign policy -- be more humanitarian in areas like Haiti, but leave the bombing to other people?

PENN: We don't have to tell it to ourselves. It's loud and clear, from the courage of a man who lit himself on fire in Tunisia to the -- to the Egyptian Arab Spring to -- to Libya, the courage that's going on there, there's no question in my mind --

MORGAN: I mean democracy and freedom, through the kind of uprising you saw in Tahrir Square, is massively more beneficial to America's interests than going into Iraq and behaving in the way that the allies did there, right?

PENN: If we had waited on Iraq, what we'd be seeing is Saddam Hussein being brought down by his people right now, without hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, children, U.S. soldiers, all the money that's been spent that could have been spent here to better this country, to straighten this country --

MORGAN: You see, when you said all this at the time about Iraq -- because I remember it was a big issue and that's when you got called a traitor. People were saying -- how can you do this? You know, American troops giving their lives. You shouldn't be saying this stuff.

And yet, of course, the counter-argument, had more people been more vocal in America, pointing out that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, as many believed in America at the time, if people had been more vocal, if we had more Sean Penns, it may not have happened.

PENN: Well, then, you know, then that's all -- all of our job to make sure it does happen. And one should take inspiration from what these people are doing on Wall Street.

But where -- where, really, we have to, if we are to keep our heads high, the example in the Middle East today is so emotional and extraordinary, the courage that it has taken.

In Libya, soldiers today who were not soldiers six months ago. They were doctors. They were engineers.

MORGAN: And you've just been in Libya and in Egypt.

PENN: Yes.

MORGAN: You've seen it firsthand.

PENN: Yes. And they just -- they just -- they -- they were being fired on with anti-aircraft -- craft artillery and just kept coming and lost so many.

MORGAN: Do you think that we're beginning to see the beginning of the end of the old-fashioned despot, the dictator? Do you think that the power of these uprisings all over the world, in all different ways, means that those guys, their days are numbered, generally?

PENN: I think, frankly, Rupert Murdoch will be the teller of this, because I think the great despot are in the corporate world and that -- that the fact that a clown -- I mean Gadhafi, by any sober analysis, could have been three times as wealthy and a god to the world.

He had six million people to take care of, billions and hundreds of billions of dollars, deep oil reserves, 2,000 kilometers of gorgeous beaches to put hotels on. He could have had everyone taken care of in his country and been a -- a shining example to the world of how to do it.

And he chose to destroy his country, ultimately destroy himself, killed his sons, who are both horrors themselves, for what?

So this is allowed to happen because of smarter people than Gadhafi.

MORGAN: Let's take another break and come back and talk to you about the Republican runners and riders in the next election, and about your work in Haiti, where you have certainly put the hours in, unlikely many others who said they would.



PENN: And what you saw in the city of Soleil (ph), 360-degree shot, you don't see one NGO vehicle, no NGO personnel --


PENN: -- no Menusa (ph) vehicles, no Menusa personnel, no international relief at all. And everybody talks about being in Soleil.


MORGAN: I'm back with my special guest, Sean Penn.

I've got to ask you, Sean, I mean the reputation you have is that you must just spend all your time furious.


PENN: I -- yes, I wonder if that's so.

MORGAN: You know, you could do -- you could be more media- friendly. You could be less abrasive. You can be less in people's faces.


MORGAN: You know, there is another way of doing this. Or you could be Mr. Beloved Hollywood Star helping the world. But you don't -- I get the feeling you don't give a crap about all that.


PENN: You -- you know, when I was -- I was very young, I was doing my first movie. And I had a friend who I'd done a play on Broadway would come to visit me. And so he was bunking up in my small hotel room in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

And we'd be getting up very early every morning. And every morning, the girl at the desk would look over to us and say, you know, why don't you ever smile?

And he finally gave me the great line, which I stole many times after that. He just mumbled, he sort of sideways as he kept walking and he -- he said, it's tough knowing this much.


PENN: And he just --


PENN: But I think in my case, it's -- you know because I do recognize what you're asking me. And I think it's tough only being able to recognize a standard that I can apply myself to. And to -- and I don't have very much tolerance when things can be done simply that are being made complicated.

MORGAN: You've immersed yourself in Haiti. I mean quite literally immersed yourself. You were there for months and months and months when many other well-known people, like they do in these kind of situations, attach their name for a week or two, and when the story went away, they go away, too.

What drives you to stick it out in somewhere like Haiti?

I mean, you don't need it. You're a multi-millionaire, double Oscar-winning superstar. You know, if I was in your position, I would be sitting in my Beverly Hills mansion worrying about it from a distance.

What motivates you to go and literally get in there, live there and carry on working for this kind of thing?

PENN: Well, I think I would have to begin to answer that by saying because we live in a world doing the things that -- that my organization is doing in Haiti, J/P HRO, where we have dependencies and we have great appreciation for a lot of ways in which people contribute. You know, I can say that --

MORGAN: Well, I had the president of Haiti on this show, actually. And he was saying there's a lot of work to be done. I mean, you know, life has moved on for many people around the world, but not for the Haitians. I mean they are still living in abject poverty, real despair for many, many of those people. And there's a lot of work to be done. And the funding issues, you know, are not helping, because they're deterring people from giving money.

PENN: That's correct. And this is why -- I wrote a rebuttal that's on the "Rolling Stone" Web site now to this thing, because it was about -- because you have to be very accurate in how you do it.

Haiti now, Haiti can work. All those U.S. troops that we sent down there and the immediate relief, all the money that we spent on that, the fact of being able to show what this country, what the United States really can be in spirit, recognizing that an hour-and-a- half away is the nation of the first major slave revolt. I mean, if -- there should be, I would think that, frankly, the black Americans of note would be paying more attention to giving Haiti the shot that it needs right now, helping it. Because we -- we're on -- we're on the edge.

What they have and what needs to be supported now is the president that you talked to, Martelly -- because he is a decisive person and because, more importantly, that beyond those who were able to get to the polls, it is my on the ground perspective throughout the country, not only in Port-au-Prince, that this currently, this president has overwhelming support of the people.

So if he is supported correctly now, if he is listened to and the donors do start releasing the funds, as they are beginning to do, the World Bank and the IDB and so on. And we are seeing the effects of it. And if people do continue to stay interested in Haiti now, then those who might seek to unseat him from within, which has been a long problem in Haiti and it's about a certain kind of blind corruption, similar to what I was talking about with Gadhafi, they'd rather be a big fish in a little pond than a rich fish in a big pond.

And they consider it -- many, many consider, you know, the benefit to the people collateral damage.

But that -- that's starting to reverse itself. And, also, now is the time that the Haitian people, having had this incredible trauma in a life of poverty trauma of this earthquake, are now ready to be part of that change.

So I think this is the -- this is -- this is the best moment. This is the most important moment now for people to be understanding what they're contributing to -- but contributing. And though there are so many problems in the world and so many right here in the United States, the vibrations of what will come out of a success in Haiti, out of a rejuvenated, a renewed sense of how to accomplish humanitarian aid and ultimately leading to the rebuilding of the independence of the country itself and of the people itself, right next door, can also be of great profit for this country, because these people will work hard. And if you pay them $5 a day, it's $3 more than they used to get.

MORGAN: Let's take another break and come back and talk about who may be the next president of the United States and the kind of world view you'd like them to have. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Sean Penn.

Sean, let's talk about the American election coming up next year.

Of all the Republican candidates, clearly, I suspect you're not going to vote for any of them, but if you had to, who is the one that you would prefer to see as the Republican nominee?

PENN: Of the Republican candidates, I would say Barack Obama.


PENN: No, I -- I -- look, I --

MORGAN: Who's the least threatening to your ideology?

PENN: That we do not necessarily be the way that I would pick it. Look, I think that, again, you have to look at a leader as hand in hand with where the people, the citizens of the country, of which I think that leader leads. You know, I think we are so tied to our institutions, most of which most people don't understand how they work in the first place, that we're afraid to lose them.

We saw, when the Arab spring happened in Egypt, we saw a pause from the president and from the United States. And the concern at every dinner table in this city, also, was, oh, we have to be very careful. Remember, Saudi Arabia.

And then, finally, somebody said, Saudi Arabia and realized that we're in a world where principle is strategy for the first time.

So who should be the president of the United States, you know, I mean, I -- it's -- until you have either Bulworth or a country willing to elect someone like Dennis Kucinich, then I'm wondering if it isn't all theater that's meant to inspire the people to fix this thing.

I will very likely vote for President Obama again. I am an optimist and I -- and I know that he did inherit a terrible situation from not only President Bush, but from prior to that, as well.

But it -- but it's -- it's not a -- it's not a -- voting isn't a happy occasion. And it should be. And I think that Barack Obama is as capable of being a great president as anybody that we've got walking.

MORGAN: I mean, he inherited one of the worst economic hospital (INAUDIBLE) imaginable.

PENN: Yes.

MORGAN: And he's struggled to deal with that.

PENN: Yes. MORGAN: But when you have nearly 10 percent of Americans out of work, this is a crisis that we haven't seen in our lifetime. Many people feel frustrated that he hasn't delivered on the promise. I sort of feel as a dispassionate outsider, that it was a pretty big promise to try and deliver on. I mean, he was seen as a kind of political messiah.

So expectation was far too high, wasn't it, given the -- the state of the economy?

PENN: Yes, I'd like to see expectation get higher. At the same time, to have a very, very clear understanding of what he's up against and now, you know, there are other decisions. Some decisions that we can debate that have been made, as I, you know, I -- I think that the Afghanistan action is a problem.

But we also have to know what forces are working against him and dividing the country and dividing our ability as a country to get together in support of such basic things. They'll call you a socialist if you want to pay for medical care, but they won't call you a socialist when they're -- when they're dialing 911 for the police department, which is paid for like socialism; the fire department, which is paid for like socialism.

There are basic things -- and there is a blend, because capitalism is not working, socialism certainly doesn't work. But there's -- at least the socialists say this is the socialist experiment.

MORGAN: What's your --

PENN: And somewhere there's a break.

MORGAN: -- what should America be doing, as a business model, to get back on its feet? What would you think is the right way to go now for America?

Many say that America doesn't build things like it used to. It's become a great consumer, but not a great provider, producer.

PENN: Yes, well, it -- you know, I'm not a -- I don't claim, you know, a great understanding of the levels of the -- of economics. But it does certainly occur to me that when you follow a human spirit emboldening agenda, like the Hoover Dam, roads, infrastructure, that these are things that -- it's -- it goes back to basics. We need them. There's not -- there's not a question about that.

I've been down to the Mexican border and seen 80, 90 -year-old men with their wives, Vietnam -- World War II veterans on walkers waiting in 90 degree sun in a line 100 deep to cross the border on foot into Mexico to get medicines that they can't afford in this country.

So meantime, tell me -- tell me what we've gotten in a -- in a -- in Afghanistan?

What have we gotten in Iraq?

We killed a bad guy. Everybody feels great about that. While we killed a bad guy, so many people are suffering here. It -- it's -- those are -- they are very basic things.

So what do I want to see?

I would love to see Barack Obama be Bulworth. I'd love to see what I've always wanted to see, somebody run as a one term president and show -- show -- show me that people aren't stupid. They do care about each other. And when he does the right things and takes on the controversies, he's going to win the next election.

And -- and there -- yet, there's another problem. You have what I call the get the "N" word out of the White House party, the Tea Party, this kind of sensibility, which is much more of a distraction--

MORGAN: Well, I had Morgan Freeman on--

PENN: -- than it is --

MORGAN: -- one of your -- your movie colleagues. And he was very passionate about that very subject, saying there are elements of the Tea Party who just, as he said, want to get the black man out of the White House. He said it on this show.

PENN: I don't think there's any doubt about it. If you ask a representative of the -- of the Tea Party, OK, Social Security, socialist, get rid of it, they're going to get very confused.

What the -- what -- what they're -- at the end of the day, there's a big bubble coming out of their head saying, you know, can we just lynch him?

If we just focus on the basics, together, I think this is a country that if it -- if it -- if we kind of wake up and look at each other in a room, it's like the light's off. You turn the light on, people are good.

They want things good for their children, whether they're Republican or Democrat or a lefty actor in Hollywood or some -- it just doesn't matter, because I've -- they always say, oh, wait, wait until, you know, he gets in the back of a pickup truck with so and so and so. Well, I've been in the back of the pickup truck a lot of times and we've had a great time together.

They tried to say, when I went to Egypt, oh, wait until -- you know, wait until they get a load of the fact that he's the guy who did "Milk," because Egypt is so anti -- most of the people in Egypt and in Libya were saying oh, "Milk," loved that movie. You know, they're just -- they're just thinking so superficially. It's so frustrating.

MORGAN: Let's have another break.

I'll let you calm down, Sean. And then when we come back, I want to talk to you about movies, because it is actually the 30th anniversary this year of your first movie.

Did you know that?

PENN: Well, I do now.


MORGAN: You're aging well.



PENN: Hey, you're ripping my car. Hey, bud, what's your problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem at all. I think you know where the front office is.



MORGAN: This is the 30th year that you've been in movies. "Taps" was 1981.



MORGAN: Have you crammed it all in?

PENN: Yes. A lot of that, it -- it is very strange now. You know, I -- the -- my perspective on -- for the first time something happened. With Haiti, that experience is -- makes much of my prior career kind of a dream in some ways. We just yesterday, one of our staff was -- in Haiti was -- has been just a hero, was killed. And this -- this young man, Tommy Predo (ph).

And what a -- what we all thought about, all of us involved in the organization and those with whom he worked and so on, is like 30 years of movies has been this last two years in Haiti and all the flashes, of course, beginning with his face, his smile, all of that -- him helping people.

But it's all -- it's as if, after Haiti, that all of what had once been -- and the -- and, you know, proudly in some ways and deeply ashamed at other times, of -- of a kind of flash reel of one's career, you know. And -- and the creative part of it and -- and those things, all of that stuff, I think the part of my brain that used to hold onto it got filled with this -- this other reel over the last two years somehow.

So I have a different--

MORGAN: I mean do you feel seriously conflicted now? Could you see yourself walking away from movies?

PENN: You know, earlier, you said something about my being a multi-millionaire. Not true. So unlikely.

MORGAN: Well, that's--

PENN: I've got some work to do.

MORGAN: -- let me rephrase it, pre-divorce, right?

PENN: Yes, exactly.


MORGAN: Divorces are expensive in Hollywood.

PENN: Yes. Divorces, violation of embargo cases, things like that.

MORGAN: Yes. You've been -- and you've had an expensive life.

PENN: I have had an expensive life, yes. But --

MORGAN: Do you need -- do you need to make movies to -- to -- to live, to earn money?

PENN: Look, I -- I still have a love affair with the movies. I prefer directing movies than to act in movies. But I -- I -- I don't -- I don't think that -- you know, Haiti. The -- you look at the -- the artisan work and the -- the cook. Without a -- without a culture, things die. And I think that there is an awful lot of legislation that goes on in the movies.

And I don't say this as -- because of -- it's not what led me to it. It's not something I'll accuse myself of being a successful practitioner of. But I will say that as an audience and sharing with people, I know that this does and it should affect the culture.

I often, you know, you're -- you're -- you're often, as an actor, a known actor in the United States, you'll hear as you travel, you know, well, I don't -- I don't really go to the movies. I don't really -- well, you might as well be saying I don't read books, because that's the new book. It's the new painting.

MORGAN: Do you go to the movies?

PENN: I go to the movies.

MORGAN: Regularly?

PENN: Not regularly enough, because I'm always traveling around and -- and --

MORGAN: What was the -- what was the best film you've seen recently? PENN: "Senna".

MORGAN: Yes. A brilliant film.

PENN: And before that, "Beautiful" (INAUDIBLE) movie.

MORGAN: What to you is great acting?

PENN: Well, let's see. I think probably -- it's, you know, I could like -- Philip Seymour Hoffman is as great an actor as -- as we've ever had. I mean I think that--

MORGAN: Do you think that?


PENN: Yes. Yes. And -- and, by the way, some handsome guys like Matt Damon are, too.


PENN: No offense, Phil.


PENN: But as -- as one of the Phil camp, I'm allowed to say that.


PENN: But, you know, there's some -- no, there's -- there's great -- Daniel Day-Lewis. You know, there's -- there's --

MORGAN: If you were casting your dream cast -- you like directing -- who would be in it?

Obviously, Philip would be one. Maybe Daniel Day-Lewis.

Who else?

Which actresses would you have?

PENN: Well, look, and Meryl Streep -- Meryl Streep and Meryl Streep and -- and Anna Magnani and Meryl Streep and -- no, there's -- there's several actresses that I think are wonderful and, you know --

MORGAN: Would Jack Nicholson creep in?

PENN: Absolutely, Jack. I mean, Jack's--

MORGAN: He leads the life --

PENN: Not only --

MORGAN: -- I think movie stars should lead.


MORGAN: Well, no. I actually like the way that you lead your life. And it's incredibly admirable. And I've always thought that. And it may not make me in the majority, but that doesn't matter to me. But someone like Jack Nicholson, if you're going to go the other way and lead the archetypal movie star life, it's him. It's him on the boat in San Tropez with loads of girls and a six pack of beer --

PENN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- and pizza.

PENN: Yes, and -- and every book anyone has ever read under his belt --


PENN: One of the most intelligent box of fireworks that ever walked the Earth.

MORGAN: Finally, Sean, how would you like to be remembered?

If you could write your own tombstone, your own epitaph, what would it say?

PENN: Well, let's see, I was -- first, I'd like to -- to erase some of my children's memories of me. And then I'd like to further boost the good ones.


PENN: Let's see.

How I'd like to be remembered?

I -- listen, I -- I don't want to be remembered angry, but I'm willing to continue being angry about a few things. I -- I --

MORGAN: What about I'm still angry?

PENN: Yes, aside from my kids, I don't really care if I'm even remembered, I don't think. I don't -- I'm not -- I don't tell the -- I'm totally willing to believe there's a God. But when someone tells me there's a God, it's a punch line the same as if they tell me there's not a God. I -- I'm happy with the mystery.

My guess is it's all going to go back and quiet, in which case I don't really care except, you know, I hope my kids are really happy and -- you know, and my friends, you know, have a good laugh at the funeral.

MORGAN: They won't be laughing at your funeral, Sean.

PENN: Well, then they've been -- then they have to leave.

(LAUGHTER) PENN: I'll hire someone ahead of time.

MORGAN: Listen, good luck with all the work you do. I think you do a great job. And it's been a pleasure meeting you.

PENN: Thanks very much.

MORGAN: Thank you.

PENN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Next, you think you know what an Occupy Wall Street protester looks like. Well, think again. Just meet two fresh from jail after the break.


MORGAN: Today, more violent clashes between police and Wall Street protesters. We have an exclusive interview with a couple arrested on Wednesday, and not what you might expect either. Take a look at these pictures. Jim Lafferty and Bonnie Garvin dragged off by the police. They were released this morning and they join me now.

Jim Lafferty, let me start with you here. Tell me what happened. Because you're not your average protesters, if you don't mind me saying. Talk me through your experience.


What happened was very simple. We had gone down to show our support for the protesters. They are mostly long, but there's other people our age as well, of course. As we were coming back from a march on the sidewalk past the Chase Bank, they arrested two young men for no apparent reason.

I have no idea why they arrested them. We and everyone else stopped to look. And the next thing to happen is the police began pushing all of us. And we happened to be the first ones in their line of sight. Pushed us to the ground, grabbed us, claimed we were somehow resisting arrest, threw us to the ground, as I think your video shows, and with no further ado, did arrest us indeed, and leaving us bruised and angry, but -- and insulted and wrongfully arrested, of course.

MORGAN: And you would know all about that because you're a lawyer, so you know exactly where the law stands. Are you going to take any action against the police?

LAFFERTY: Yes, we may well do that. Certain there are other actions that are going to be taken by National Lawyers Guild, lawyers and others against the police here in New York, I should say. You have over 800 people that have now been arrested in New York.

I would contrast that very sharply with what has happened in my own town of Los Angeles, where, frankly, the police department is behaving much better. Chief Beck of the Police Department of Los Angeles made a point of saying, we are not the New York Police Department. He said that to me directly.

They're not worrying about every simple little infraction that happens. They're working with the protestors, who are camped out on our city hall lawn. And it's been going much, much better there. And that's what the New York police should be doing, because these folks represent not just the 99 percent from the financial point of view, but if you listen to what they're talking about, the majority of the people in this country really have the same positions.

MORGAN: Bonnie, let me bring you in here. Once you were both arrested, what happened then?

BONNIE GARVIN, OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTER: It was absolutely Kafkaesque. I mean, it was so surreal. Then they didn't know what to do with us because we were actually arrested by Brooklyn Police who were doing a favor to the New York Police.

So we were in the Seventh Precinct. Then we were down in central booking. Then they ended up taking us to Bellevue. And I thought to myself, oh, how interesting, there are two Bellevue hospitals in New York, not realizing there was only one Bellevue. So now we're in the psych ward.

MORGAN: Playing Devil's advocate, Bonnie, in the video, you can see that you are pushing the cops around a bit. Are you completely blameless here?

GARVIN: Well, what happened was we were being pushed. So now when the guy suddenly -- when the police officer grabbed me, I said to him, let go of my arm. And then someone pushed me. So it does appear that way.

But listen, it doesn't really make a lot of sense for someone to resist arrest, particularly someone of our age. It is one thing when kids do it because they don't know. But clearly we know better. And we're surrounded by the police.

And the cop is twisting my arm, saying to me, stop resisting arrest. Stop resisting arrest. I wasn't resisting arrest. But you realize, which is that is the scary part, is they can just make it up on the spot.

Suddenly, five minutes later, a lieutenant comes wandering over. Mind you, he hasn't been there. They called him over. And he had the nerve to look at us and say, I saw you were doing -- you were doing this, you were doing that. I said, you weren't even here.

MORGAN: Bonnie, where do you see this going, this protest? It is clearly gathering momentum. It's being taken more seriously. It's getting more credibility. How far can it go? How big will it get, do you think?

GARVIN: Hopefully the equivalent of the Arab Spring, I mean, in the sense that -- again, it is a way of discounting people to say they are not organized. It is all about delegitimizing what's really going on to make people look foolish, rather than to say, well, they don't have leadership, but look at the issues they are talking about.

It does tap in to something in people that is going to make them either swell in to a movement that maybe does become a third party or at least begins to put enough pressure on the parties that already exist that they will begin to listen to what 99 percent of the people want.

I mean, we live in a country where one percent of the people control the majority of the wealth. That is wrong. People viscerally are finally beginning to feel that. And the fact that they don't feel that in some way that the Democrats or the Republicans or that the government feels is legitimate does not delegitimize their expression.

MORGAN: OK, Jim Lafferty, Bonnie Garvin, thank you both very much.

LAFFERTY: Thank you, Piers? .

MORGAN: Quite an ordeal you have been through, but all in the name of a good protest. Thank you.

LAFFERTY: Thank you..

MORGAN: Coming up, a look at my extraordinary interview on Monday with TV legend Kelsey Grammer on the pain of divorce and his emotional joy of finding love again.



RAINN WILSON, ACTOR: Hi. I'm Rainn Wilson. As a long time supporter of CNN Heroes, I'm also personally involved with charities that are committed to saving lives. Through my work with the Mona Foundation and Planting Peace, I have seen heroism take place all over the world.

And now I'm thrilled to help introduce one of CNN's top ten Heroes for 2011.

PATRICE MILLET, CNN HERO: In Haiti, every day of your life, you are seeing poor kids. When the earthquake came, it became harder. There is no water, no electricity. You have to fight for everything.

In 2006, the doctor told me that I had cancer and it was not curable. I wanted to do something good for my country, for the kids.

My name is Patrice Miller and I do education through soccer with Haitian kids.

In soccer, you have everything in life. You to need to give. You need to receive. You need team spirit, discipline, sportsmanship. This is the way you win in life.

Whatever I can do, I help some other kids a pay the school for them. We also have the food program. They can eat for two days. This is a lot for them.

I enjoy so much to teach them, to learn from them, to see the joy in the face of a kid. That make mess happy.



MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer has been at the pinnacle of television stardom for three decade. He's won every award going. But he's suffered the downside of fame, too. Take a look now at this exclusive clip from an incredibly emotional interview with him that we will broadcast in full on Monday night.


KELSEY GRAMMER, ACTOR: I said listen, I want to just go take a walk. It doesn't feel right to be in there. So we took a walk over to Hyde Park. And they had this Christmas fair thing going on. And there was a Ferris wheel.

MORGAN: I know exactly what you're talking about. I know that fair.

GRAMMER: We got Ferris wheel. And I looked at her and I thought -- I have to go back for one second. For the last several years, I have been saying to one particular friend of mine -- I said, you know what, I don't care if I ever have sex again. I just want to be kissed.

I want somebody to kiss me just once again in my life and mean it. I looked at her in that moment. And I thought I'm going to try.


GRAMMER: I told you I wasn't going to cry. She is going like -- so I leaned in and kissed her. And we have been together ever since.

MORGAN: One of the most romantic things I have ever heard. You're making me go now.

GRAMMER: Listen, the snow started to fall as we walked across the street tonight. It was insane. It was like all the planets had danced together into a segregated charm on our behalf. It was messy. It's been difficult since then. Kate was uncertain about -- you know, I was trying to do something, some noble gesture to make the destruction of the previous marriage go easier somehow.

And that was a mistake. It was just a mistake. I should have walked home and said we're done. You can finally have everything you wanted, and I found a new life.


MORGAN: And the full interview will air on Monday night. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts right now.