- Title: Dylan Penn takes the lead in family-affair 'Flag Day'
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: CANNES, FRANCE (JULY 11, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTRESS, DYLAN PENN, SAYING: "A huge relief for me was that she never expected or wanted me to mimic her. Like, she didn't want a copy of herself as long as the story was committed to and the message got across and she was fine with whatever I brought to the character. So that was very freeing."
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 13:26
- Keywords: Dylan Penn Flag Day Flag Day movie Sean Penn Sean Penn daughter Sean Penn movie
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Various
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Film
- Reuters ID: LVA006EQY2DSD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Dylan Penn, the daughter of Hollywood stars Sean Penn and Robin Wright, says she initially turned down the chance to star in her father's new film "Flag Day" - her first major movie role - but a lengthy production delay allowed her to mature into the part.
Based on journalist Jennifer Vogel's memoir "Flim-Flam Man", the movie tells the true story of her father John Vogel, a petty criminal who got involved in counterfeiting.
Penn said she read Vogel's book when she was a teenager and at the time adamantly rejected her father's offer of the leading role.
"He asked me when I was around that age 15, 16, and I solidly said 'no'. I never thought I wanted to act and I just felt like I was too young like I didn't have enough to bring to that character," Penn, now 30, said.
"And then, 15 years later, I think after having, like, real-life experience, I felt like 'OK, I can draw from my life', reference my experiences and maybe colour this character a little bit more."
"Flag Day" sees John Vogel starting ambiguous business ventures and stumbling in and out of the lives of his children, continuously upsetting and disappointing Jennifer.
Interspersed with grainy flashbacks to Jennifer's childhood, the film tries to peel back her deep-rooted admiration for her father, as she recalls the exuberant show he would put on for the 4th of July or Flag Day - his birthday.
The film is very much a family affair - Dylan Penn's real-life brother Hopper stars as Jennifer's brother Nick and their father appears behind and in front of the camera as John Vogel. The Oscar-winning actor has already directed critically-acclaimed films, including the 2007 drama adventure "Into The Wild."
"It's the first time that I've worked with both of them, my brother and my dad and I just had so much fun playing with them," Penn, whose mother divorced Sean Penn in 2010, said.
"We really used the script as more of a guide than anything else. And so there was a lot of room to improvise and adlib and I think that makes for a more interesting movie."
The film is less interested in Vogel's illicit affairs and instead focuses on the impact his absence has on his family and Jennifer's transformation from an angsty teenager into a respected journalist.
Penn said the pressure of playing a real-life person was lifted after meeting with Vogel.
"She never expected or wanted me to mimic her. Like, she didn't want a copy of herself as long as the story was committed to and the message got across and she was fine with whatever I brought to the character."
"That was very freeing."
In "Flag Day" Jennifer, too, is determined to leave her mark on the world but she uses her dysfunctional past to propel her forward. For Penn, Jennifer's desire to forge her own way in life resonated with her own ambitions.
"I think what I gravitated towards was this idea of, you know, not being defined by your past or by dysfunction and creating your own road forward and finding your own identity. And for her, it was like being a truth seeker and becoming a journalist. So that was really inspiring for me."
"I carry this name and I know that I'll always be associated with my parents. But I think it just, especially because I'm now in the same business, it makes me even more, you know, (feel) the need to be independent from that and to have my own identity is really important and crucial."
"Flag Day" is released in U.S. cinemas on Friday (August 20).
(Production: Hanna Rantala)
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