Sean Penn

Humanitarian Sean Penn admits: 'I don't control my temper well'

May 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM ET

Cannes isn't just home to the glamorous, glitzy film festival -- it's the spot where two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn recently hosted a different kind of celebrity bash. He threw his "Carnival in Cannes" benefit to raise funds for relief in Haiti, which is still trying to recover from a massive earthquake two years ago. For Penn, Haiti is a special place.

"The job isn't done," he told TODAY's Ann Curry about efforts to repair the nation. "The job of the international community isn't done." That said, he added, "It's kind of a magic moment. It's an exciting time to be working in Haiti."

Tables for "Carnival" went for as much as $100,000 each, and guests included Ben Stiller and Chris Rock, according to Reuters. Penn has been named "Ambassador-at-large for Haiti" by the country's new president, Michel Martelly. Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization has been going since just a few days after the earthquake hit.

Sean Penn has acted since childhood, and has two Oscars to show for it, but he's also a committed political activist.

Curry asked Penn about his demanding nature, particularly when working with helpers in Haiti, and he was unrepentant: "Most of the people I'm angry at are usually international volunteers who are coming over to stamp themselves with a do-gooder label. ... I don't control my temper well, I guess."

Penn has long been a supporter of humanitarian causes, including journeying to post-Katrina New Orleans to help rescue people. But, he adds, he's not out to prove he's more moral-than-thou.

"I'm not going to accuse myself of being moral. ... I recognize a lot of the things that are less than good in me, and similarly there is a very powerful thing that comes when something is good despite me," he said.

And on the subject of morality, Penn has some ideas about the afterlife: "I prefer not to go to hell," he said. "I'd like to think that heaven is a little sexier than generally portrayed ... but if it is black and quiet, that's OK too."

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