VIDEO – Dylan Penn (“Flag Day”): “At 26, I realized my dad had been married to Madonna!”

In the Penn family, I ask for Dylan, the eldest. Born in Los Angeles just 30 years ago, the daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn is almost an unknown to the general public. After a short-lived modeling career, and a small role in Elvis & Nixon in 2016, she is today the star of Flag Day, the new film of his father in theaters since Wednesday. This family drama is inspired by a book by journalist Jennifer Vogel devoted to her own father, a forger who hit the headlines in the United States in the 1990s. Passing through the Deauville Festival in early September, the young woman s is entrusted with this unprecedented collaboration …

It seems that you have long resisted the idea of ​​becoming an actress. But it was kind of your destiny, right?

I wouldn’t say it was my fate, but yes, I resisted. I didn’t want to act, I wanted to direct. And it still is. This is my passion. But with this film… The role was too good to miss. I had read the book it was inspired by at the age of 15 and it’s like it’s been a part of my life for a very long time.

When you have to work with people in your family, it can go in two directions. Either it’s a disaster. Either it’s awesome– Dylan Penn

Do you remember your first discussion with your father about this movie?

It’s a long story ! I think the first time he told me about it, I was 15 or 16 years old. And I answered him with a big fat “Fuck, no !”. I will never act, never ask myself the question again! I even suggested that she hire Kirsten Stewart or Dakota Fanning, as if I were her casting director. Time passed, my father let his option on the script pass, and another actor was supposed to play the father. I auditioned, got the part of Jennifer, and we worked together for six months. Until the actor in question asked my father to direct the film. Then 30 days before the start of filming, this actor abandoned the project and my father took his place. This is how it happened!

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I read that your mother, Robin Wright Penn, encouraged you to work with him because he was a very good coach for the actors…

It’s true. When you have to work with people in your family, it can go in two directions. Either it’s a disaster. Either it’s great. So I asked my mom what it was like working with him (they shot together The Crossing Guard, in 1995 – editor’s note). And without hesitation she replied that it was the best experience of her life. Even today, I think they have an incredible professional relationship. After touring with him, I understand even better. I love his personality as a director.

Was he more demanding of you because you are his daughter? More honest than with others?

No, I think he’s honest with all the actors. He is actually honest but in a positive way. He himself is an actor and he knows very well that if you are told “You really fucked up!”, it’s only going to make things worse. It will even be horrible! An actor, on a set, is the most vulnerable person in the world. My father understands this very well and all his comments are constructive. After that we were most of the time on the same wavelength and since we have a very direct relationship, I already knew when to start over before he said “Cut! “. I admit that he surprised me a little because in everyday life, he has a little side “It’s that or nothing! “.

Behind the camera in 2022?

If I say that Flag Day is a movie about how kids idealize their parents, until one day they realize they’re not that perfect, do you agree?

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(Laughs). I’ll tell you something: When I was 26, I thought about getting married. And I realized my dad was two years younger when he himself married Madonna! It is the first time that I realized that he had had a life before the beginning of my existence! When we grow up, we discover that our parents are human beings, that they have faults. And it can be as emotional as it is scary for a young person. I am fortunate that my parents have always been honest with me, from an early age.

Are your parents your heroes?

Yes, they are my heroes and always will be.

Many children refuse to do the same job as their parents, to show them that they are different …

I feel very different from them, even though I do the same job today. If I had to portray our family, I would say my mom and brother Hopper Jack are funny, outgoing, always looking to have a good laugh. My dad and I are much more introverted. But if something needs to be said, we’re not afraid to do it, even if it hurts. Even though I think my dad is a little harder than me!

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The next step for you is other roles… Or to perform as you have dreamed of for a long time?

I was lucky with this movie, but directing is what matters most to me. I have a writing partner, we have a script that we’ve been trying to get off the ground for ages. It is called Lip Service and I am optimistic that 2022 will be the year when this project will finally see the light of day.

>> Flag Day by Sean Penn. With Dylan Penn, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin. 1h48. In theaters

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