The American actor has turned director once again for The Last Face, which stars his ex-fiancee Charlize Theron as a charity director who together with a relief doctor (Javier Bardem) faces a humanitarianism issue in Africa. It's in competition for the prestigious Palme d'Or prize at Cannes (11-22May16), putting a lot of pressure on Sean.

“I’ve got an ‘everything is riding on it’ deal going to Cannes this year,” he told the Financial Times. “I think (the movie) will disappear if it gets a poor reaction and I think that would be a terrible shame because it’s very relevant now and the performances are transcendent... I’ve given it all I’ve got.”

Sean himself is no stranger to success, having scooped two Oscars for Mystic River and Milk. However, he now feels Hollywood has become a business only concerned with “supplying stimulus and comfort”, and that the balance between sales and art is all out of place.

“It’s all about branding now,” he noted. “Greed is good. Superficial as all motherf**king hell but popular."

Sean remembers how much he used to love going to see movies in the '70s and '80s and soaking up characters who weren't familiar to him. While he's starred in countless films over the years, he's only helmed five over the past 25.

“It takes it out of you," he explained when asked why so few. "You have to know that whatever obstacles there are, you’re going to stay in love with that film for two years. It’s like a woman. If you wake up in the morning and you don’t want to breathe in the back of the person next to you then it’s time to go. So you sleep with a lot of movie ideas until you wake up next to one that you want to breathe in.”