Sean Penn's Son Has Grown Up To Be His Father's Twin

It's no secret that these days a lot of Hollywood's rising performers are the children of former big movie stars who have grown up to follow in their parents' footsteps. Hopper Jack Penn is one of them since the up-and-coming actor is the son of A-listers. "The Princess Bride” star Robin Wright and Academy Award winner Sean Penn are his mom and dad. While that had to make life interesting for him, Hopper didn't actually realize his parents were famous until he was 5, after someone recognized his dad on the street. He recalled to Evening Standard, "I was like, 'Why do people know you?'" And the same with my mom. It was weird."

Regardless of how strange it was, Hopper decided to work in the entertainment industry as an adult, like his mom, dad, and sister, Dylan Penn. It was something that Wright was hesitant for her kids to pursue because she feared that they would always be compared to her and Sean, especially on-screen. However, she came around from that feeling, explaining to Yahoo!, "You're going to have our genetic pool, but you're always going to be your own thing."

Hopper is definitely doing his own thing, yet you could say that he did grow up to basically become his father's twin. Obviously, we're talking about looks, but Hopper shares many similarities with Sean outside of just appearance. So let's break those down, along with how Hopper has found success in his own right. 

Sean Penn encouraged Hopper to act

The most obvious way that Hopper Penn grew up to be like his dad is that he became an actor. He can even thank his father for that too, since it was Sean Penn who pushed him to act in the 2016 film "The Last Face" that he was directing after Hopper had asked him if he could be a production assistant. "I was so not into it, embarrassed and shy," Hopper recalled to i-D, adding, "Then he showed me how much I could be getting paid, and I was like, 'All right, let's do this!'" Hopper had appeared in three shorts before that, but this was his first feature film.

From that point on though, Hopper told Cryptic Rock that he caught the acting bug and realized he wanted to pursue it professionally. Hopper went on to appear in another movie right after that too, which was 2017's "War Machine," alongside Brad Pitt. "That was the coolest experience I've ever had going to Abu Dhabi and working on that movie," Hopper said to i-D.

The Los Angeles native has been in a few other movies since then, including 2023's "Devil's Peak." When promoting that film, he explained, "I would say my career has been pretty sporadic up until now, but very fulfilling." Yet, Hopper feels he has much more to prove despite who his father is. For example, he shared that he's interested in trying his hand at comedy because he's only done dramas.

Hopper Penn doesn't want to be labeled a nepo baby

Sean Penn may have given his son his first feature film role, but that doesn't mean Hopper Penn identifies as a "nepo baby." For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the children of celebrities who have successful Hollywood careers because of who their parents are ("nepo" is short for "nepotism"). While that sounds like Hopper, when asked about it by Yahoo!, he got defensive, saying he didn't care because it didn't apply to him. He did add he previously discussed the concept with Steven Spielberg's daughter when a movie they were doing together was referred to as a "nepotism film." "I was like, 'They're just pissed that they're not in the movie!'"

Hopper didn't initially set out to be famous like his dad or his mom, actor Robin Wright, either, since he wanted to work as a production assistant instead. He explained to People, "My first movie my dad gave me ... it's never something I wanted to do." He did clarify to Cryptic Rock that neither of his parents pressured him to act but were supportive of it.

However, just because Hopper's parents are famous doesn't mean he doesn't have to make his own money. His mother made that clear on Access Hollywood when disclosing the career advice she gave him. "You never know when the next job will come," she said, "so you're going to have to get jobs in between ... to pay your rent."

Hopper Penn had his ups and downs with his dad

Despite Hopper Penn seemingly having a lot of things in common with his father, the two didn't always have the easiest relationship. Hopper explained why to People, saying, "He was strict, and I was always getting into trouble ... we butted heads for a long time." Fortunately, those days are over, not only because Hopper is an adult, but because Sean Penn has mellowed out in his older age. Yet, Hopper did discuss with the Evening Standard a reason why he might have acted out in the past, which was because of his parents' frustrating on-again-off-again relationship. He recalled, "It was like, 'Pick which one you're gonna do.' I was young and thinking: 'Are you just f***ing with me and my sister?'"

Of course, Hopper has happy childhood memories with his father as well, like when Sean taught him how to skateboard. Hopper told i-D that his dad had bought him a board when he turned 4 since he had skated as a child. Hopper recalled initially being nervous but with Sean's encouragement, he then discovered his passion for skateboarding.

These days, the father and son still hang out or stay in touch through FaceTime and very long text messages written by Sean. As for the elder Penn, he's gushed about his children, like when they worked on the movie "Flag Day" together. He told The Independent, "I'm thrilled ... because I was able to have that experience both with Dylan and Hopper."

The Puppy Love actor is closer with his mother, Robin Wright

Hopper Penn clearly looks most like his father, but he actually has a stronger bond with his mother. When speaking to People about his parents, Hopper explained, "I'm much closer and more similar to my mom, like our humor and everything ... she's just a really good mom, but she was always a friend too."

Like Sean Penn, Hopper and Robin Wright are both actors and got to work together on the big screen in the 2023 movie "Devil's Peak." Per Yahoo!, it was Hopper who suggested Wright play his mother in the film after reading the script and realizing that she was a great fit for the role. Hopper was concerned that Wright's busy TV schedule on "House of Cards" wouldn't allow her to do the movie. Yet, Wright said she immediately agreed to it just from her son asking her to play his mom. She even became a producer on the film and got her friend, actor Billy Bob Thornton, to join the cast too.

Not surprisingly, Hopper loved the experience of working with his mother. He told Cryptic Rock, "It was like the best thing ever. My mom is still one of my best friends." She apparently also made him a better actor. That's because he said that he had struggled to cry on camera before, but that he easily could in scenes with her since she made it feel more natural.

Like his dad, Hopper Penn got violent with paparazzi

If there's one thing that Hopper Penn probably didn't want to inherit from his father, it's his temper, considering that Sean Penn has been arrested multiple times for seemingly losing it. He appeared to have a particular disdain for anyone who tried to photograph him without his consent since he was arrested at least four times for alleged assault in those situations. Sean defended himself when speaking to Oprah in 2005, but claimed that he's since chilled out after serving jail time.

Apparently, Hopper has a similar negative attitude toward paparazzi, because in 2013 he was caught on camera confronting a photographer who was taking photos of him and Sean going into a building. Yet, while Sean ignored the paparazzo, Hopper not only pushed the man but angrily yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him. The victim didn't press charges, so Hopper wasn't arrested, and he later expressed his regret. "I was accosted by paparazzi and made to feel like an animal — threatened and under attack, but that does not condone my own actions," he said in a statement.

That "apology" doesn't seem the most sincere, but years later Hopper tried to separate himself from being the stereotypical ill-behaved and entitled Hollywood kid. That's because he told Evening Standard in 2017, "Some of the kids that grow up in Los Angeles with that life, they have this impression ... they're more important than other people. But they're not real to me."

The Signs of Love star had a drug problem

It's safe to say that Sean Penn became famous for playing a stoner in the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," yet his son's drug use appeared to be far more serious. That's because Hopper Penn admitted that he used crystal meth as a teenager after surrounding himself with some questionable people. He explained to Evening Standard, "I was doing a lot of stuff, but meth was the main one that brought me down." He continued, "I woke up in a hospital and my dad was like, 'Rehab? Or bus bench?'"

Hopper chose rehab, but he was arrested for drug possession after that when he was in Nebraska in 2018 with his now ex-girlfriend, Uma Von Wittkamp. Troopers there found marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and amphetamine pills inside their car after pulling them over. Hopper later settled the case with a $1,000 fine. However, sources told Radar that his father was livid with him for continuing to get into trouble with drugs.

Hopper was eventually able to put that behind him and even use his experience with addiction in his 2023 movie, "Devil's Peak." His mother plays a meth addict in the film and told Yahoo! that her son helped her get into character since he's been through what she had to portray. "Having my own history with addiction, there's this sense of people wanting to help," Hopper said, adding, "But you can't help somebody unless they help themselves first."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Hopper Penn almost died in a skateboarding accident

Hopper Penn's meth use wasn't the only thing that sent him to the hospital in his youth. He was also involved in a serious skateboarding accident that almost cost him his life. Hopper had just switched high schools at age 16 when he was partying with some new friends and wanted to show them he could skate down a famous hill. "I hit a tiny rock and because I had been drinking and smoking I didn't put my hands out and hit my head," he told i-D.

That crash led Penn to have internal bleeding in his brain, yet he didn't realize how serious it was until he got to the hospital and doctors told him what was happening. He recalled to Evening Standard, "They said I'd either die or be in a coma if they didn't put me into brain surgery."

Luckily, Penn was able to make a full recovery and from the looks of photoshoots and paparazzi shots over the years, he didn't let that experience stop him from skateboarding. It's something he's been very invested in since childhood. He and his father had even appeared on former pro skateboarder Bam Margera's MTV show "Viva La Bam" when Hopper was 11 years old. It seems Sean was more impacted by Hopper's serious accident though. He told Vanity Fair that it inspired him to go help earthquake victims in Haiti as a way to express his gratitude for his son surviving the accident.

Hopper Penn made headlines for a romance

It's hard not to think of Sean Penn without thinking of all the high-profile romances he had over the years. The "Mystic River" star was not only married to Madonna and Robin Wright, but he also reportedly dated Jewel, Scarlett Johansson, and Charlize Theron. Yet, Hopper Penn appears to now have his own headline-making relationship, since he's dating actor Zoe Bleu Sidel, who is the daughter of actor Rosanna Arquette. The two were seen canoodling and kissing during a trip to Rome in May 2023, seemingly confirming that they're together.

Hopper reportedly met Sidel on the set of their 2022 movie "Signs of Love," where they played lovers on-screen. He later even gushed about her when promoting the movie, telling HotCorn how good she was in the film. He explained, "She knows what she's doing and that made me feel really comfortable, which made it easier, but her character is incredibly hard."

Hopper previously worked with his girlfriend's mother in the 2020 film "Puppy Love." He even admitted to the San Francisco Examiner that acting with her was a thrilling experience because he had a crush on Arquette as a child. While that may make things awkward for Hopper now, Arquette also had only good things to say about him in that same interview too. She said, "​​I really enjoyed connecting with him as an actor. He's real and comes from this very pure place, which is just being himself."

Hopper Penn is best friends with his sister, Dylan

Hopper Penn isn't Sean Penn's only child since he has a daughter, Dylan Penn, too. And just as we said Hopper Penn matured into looking like his father, Dylan grew up to basically be her mother's twin. Sean even commented on his daughter's resemblance to his ex-wife to The Independent saying, "She has her mother's skin."

Dylan, like the rest of her family, is also an actor, and Hopper got to work with her in their 2022 film "Signs of Love." The sister and brother duo weren't only seen joking around when later attending the film's premiere together in Rome, but Hopper also talked about their strong bond when promoting it. He told HotCorn, "Dylan is my best friend and not like, 'Oh because she's my sister,' we go out and have fun constantly." Of course, he was sure to add that like most siblings, they definitely can get on each other's nerves.

From the looks of their Instagrams though, the two seem to enjoy each other's company. Dylan, for example, has posted many photos of her and Hopper hanging out and expressed her gratitude for him in one caption. Hopper also shared his love for his sibling in a birthday tribute, where he called her "the straight up best sister anyone can get." He also gave more insight into their relationship, writing, "It's not a sister if she doesn't piss you off sometimes but always able to bring you back up too."

Hopper Penn has had other gigs in the entertainment industry

Both Sean and Hopper Penn have dabbled in other jobs in the entertainment industry outside of acting. For Sean, that's been directing and producing, having done both for several films and music videos. While Hopper hasn't followed his dad to the director chair just yet, he's interested in producing. In 2023, he even told People that he wasn't sure he wanted to continue acting, admitting, "I want to move into producing or anything behind the screen." He went on to explain that he didn't like watching himself act, so producing would be a way for him to enjoy his work more.

Per Hopper's IMDb, he has producing experience from the 2020 film he starred in called "Puppy Love." He also told Cryptic Rock that he recently started his own production company with that movie's director, Michael Maxxis, and that they had some projects lined up.

Outside of the movie business, Hopper has also done some professional modeling after making his fashion debut in a 2016 campaign for the clothing brand Fay. However, he told Evening Standard that he didn't actually feel like a real model until he became the face of a Fendi collection a year later. It's unclear if Hopper has put modeling behind him, but he did tell Men's Folio that he's picked up an interest in style. "It fascinates me," he said. "After getting in touch with it, I fell in love with the fashion world."

Hopper Penn was named after his dad's favorite actors

At this point, it's clear that Sean Penn has had a big influence on his son's life, so it's definitely worth mentioning that he was the one who also chose Hopper Penn's interesting name. Of course, odd baby names are nothing new for celebrities, having been a trend for years, basically since Apple Paltrow was born. Yet, there is a reason that Hopper has his specific name. He explained to Interview, "It has to do with Dennis Hopper; my dad was friendly with him and idolized him."

Hopper isn't just named after one famous actor, but two, since he got his middle name, Jack, from, you guessed it ... Jack Nicholson. Sean downplayed the claim that he named his son after Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson though, telling New York that he and Robin Wright had "aesthetically" liked the names. He did admit that he was influenced by the actors, considering how important Hopper's movie "Easy Rider" was to him. He also pointed out that Nicholson is someone who every actor admires.

While Hopper Jack is definitely an original name, the "Devil's Peak" star said that he almost had an even stranger name because his father actually had another idea. "My dad wanted to name me Steak, the food, because he loves it so much." Wright unsurprisingly vetoed that name, with Hopper adding, "What they told me is that I hopped in her stomach ... so they went with that."

The Devil's Peak star works as a pizza chef when he's not making movies

Sean Penn may have been a big movie star by the time he was his son's age, but Hopper Penn still works a normal job to pay his bills. In 2023, even after Hopper had appeared in a slew of movies like "Signs of Love" and "Devil's Peak," he told Access Hollywood, "I work at a pizza place right now, making pizzas." He also pointed out that it was because he didn't have another movie lined up at the time.

It seems that Hopper has been working at Lamonica's NY-Pizza in Los Angeles since at least 2017. That's when he told the Evening Standard that not only was it his favorite pizza place, but that he was a chef there. If you're wondering how he juggled that with his acting and modeling jobs over the years, it apparently hasn't always been easy. "They got really annoyed with me working and then being like, 'I've gotta go away for a week' ... so then they said: 'Just come in when you can and help out.'" It probably helps that the restaurant's owner is Hopper's godfather.

All in all, Hopper Penn is a lot like his dad, not only in their identical appearances but in how they live their lives too. However, Hopper has made it clear that he's also still his own person who is having his own exciting Hollywood career outside of his father's shadow.