Acting with his daughter, Sean Penn explores family ties in a Cannes film

CANNES, France, July 11 (Reuters) – Sean Penn said on Sunday he nearly passed up the opportunity to star alongside his daughter Dylan for the first time in ‘Flag Day’, his latest film in the Festival’s shortlist. of Cannes. – until actor Matt Damon encouraged him.

Oscar-winning Penn stars as John Vogel, a real-life wheel dealer who goes from one failed business venture to another, heartbreaking to his daughter Jennifer, who worships him.

Based on a book by journalist Jennifer Vogel, Penn told a press conference in Cannes that he had an image of his daughter Dylan when reading the script – but was convinced to get down to it. the place of Jennifer’s father, when he was already ready to direct.

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“The last effort I made not to star in it was when I sent the script about a month and a half before shooting started to Matt Damon, who called me, not to say that ‘he could do it, not to say he couldn’t do it, but to say I was a stupid asshole not to do it,’ Penn said.

Vogel was a notorious petty criminal who found himself embroiled in counterfeiting, though “Flag Day” is more about how he tricks those he loves and lies to himself.

The “Into The Wild” director’s latest effort behind the camera has earned him mixed reviews so far, with Screendaily critics pointing out flaws in character presentation, including Jennifer’s transition from an angsty teenager to a budding journalist.

However, most critics praised the acting duo at its center, including Dylan’s performance, and Sean Penn as the rambunctious, fun-loving dad who tries to maintain his grand delusion as his American Dream goes awry.

The 74th Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film ‘Flag Day’ in competition – Cannes, France, July 11, 2021. Director Sean Penn and actor Dylan Penn pose. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


The film is in competition with other big-name directors such as Wes Anderson, as the festival returns to the French Riviera after it was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Dylan Penn is also joined by her on-screen real-life brother Hopper Jack Penn. Their mother Robin Wright, also an actress, divorced Sean Penn in 2010.

“I got into this project watching it because it’s my job, … it’s my boss,” Dylan Penn said, adding that their relationship was very different in real life than John and Jennifer Vogel’s. “We’re both alpha, it can clash at times, but I think it worked out in the end.”

Penn, who is also involved in philanthropy and has organized a COVID-19 testing and vaccination campaign and sites in the United States, blasted former US President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic during the press conference.

“When my team and I were returning from testing and vaccination sites at night… to infuriating news – it really was like there was someone with a machine gun gunning down the most vulnerable communities from a gun turret. White House,” Penn says.

He said the Trump administration’s main contribution to tackling the health crisis ahead of the late 2020 election had been pre-ordering vaccine doses.

(This story corrects first paragraph to say Sunday, not Saturday)

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Reporting by Sarah White; edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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