In the new film Flag Day, opening today in select theaters, Sean Penn directs his daughter Dylan in her first starring role. They play a father and a daughter with a complicated relationship, and he tells ABC Audio it’s something he wanted to make for a while, though she was hesitant.
“If I was going to make the movie…the only way I was going to really know how to make it was with her,” Sean, 61, says, adding, “She was reluctant to do it…So we had to sit back and be patient.”
And patient he was, because Dylan reveals that it took her about 15 years to finally agree to the gig.
“The first time he brought it to my attention, I was pretty young, I was maybe 15, 16,” the now 30-year-old actress explains.
“I never wanted to act…And then I just didn’t really feel like I was ready to take on a role like that,” she continued. “I read the book and I hadn’t grown up. So I think, 15 years later, I had grown up a bit.”
So, what’s it like working opposite, and being directed by, her superstar dad?
“Overwhelming,” Dylan admits. “I was nervous…like a lot of people would be nervous to work in a professional environment with their family the first time. You don’t know how that’s going to play out.”
As for Sean’s take, he says working with his daughter made his job a little easier.
“What you’re trying to do is express a feeling of a relationship. And I think that we were definitely able to use the emotional shorthand that we had from growing up together,” the Oscar winner says. “It’s a coming of age story where I’m the one coming of age.”
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