Penn collaborated with Petty and his band Mudcrutch in 2016, co-directing a music video with Samuel Bayer for the group's song, "I Forgive It All." The black-and-white clip also starred Anthony Hopkins and served as a stark meditation on poverty, wealth, aging and absolution.
"It's hard enough for any of us to share ourselves, to articulate in tone and content, to even one other individual," Penn says. "But Tom was that extreme exception who could talk to and for millions through his music, words and way. We often say how lucky we were to know someone when they pass. Man, was I lucky, and moreso we were lucky that Tom Petty passed our way and left us a soundtrack more significant every day. He spoke with great love and appreciation of his children, friends and wife Dana. He'll be deservedly blessed by their stewardship of all that was Tom Petty."
In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, Penn discussed how the video came about and how Petty reacted to the concept. "Tom was super encouraging," the actor said. "I went over with Sam and told him what I had in mind and he said, 'Go for it.' His song is so strong anyway and I just found it so moving. It's just great songwriting."