Tolerance and togetherness are the messages of "Americans," a new short film quietly leaked online Wednesday by Kid Rock and Sean Penn.
The nearly 11-minute piece, written by the duo and executive produced by Rock is designed "to tear down the one-dimensional political stereotypes portrayed by the media by confronting them head on." "It's something nobody is talking about, but it's there all the time -- and it doesn't have to be," Rock explained late last month. "We can disagree. It doesn't mean we have to hate each other."
"Americans," directed by Jameson Stafford, is posted at Rock's official web site and on YouTube
Rock and Penn, who are close friends in real life, start out by confronting each other in a bar over their differing political views as they watch footage of Rock performing his "Born Free" at a Royal Oak Music Theatre appearance earlier this year by current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. After calling each other a variety of names, the two are admonished by a female customer at the bar then humbled by a breaking news report about 26 marines killed in Afghanistan.
After sharing a hug, Rock and Penn bond by attending an environmental protest rally and a gay wedding ceremony while fellow Detroit rocker Uncle Kracker's sunny "Smile" plays in the background. They exchange T-shirts -- a PETA Rocks! shirt for Rock, a NASCAR shirt for Penn -- and go shopping for a Toyota Prius for Rock, who promptly decks it out with an antlered animal head on the hood and a gun rack on the back.
The video finishes with the two men riding bicycles while the screen bears the legend, "Don't let politics divide us. Thinking differently. It's what made this country great."
The film's posting on YouTube adds that "Americans" "reminds us to be proud of our differences, and to never forget that we're all in this together as Americans."
Rock, who also played for Romney at the Republican National Convention in August and introduced Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan this week in Rochester, said he wanted to bring "Americans" out without any hype and "let people find it." In initial views on Wednesday, more than 80 percent of those who watched it gave "Americans" a favorable response.
Rock is currently preparing for the Nov. 19 release of his next album, "Rebel Soul."