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Speaking at the press conference for his latest directorial feature, Flag Dag, which had its world premiere on Saturday night, Penn was asked about his own work setting up testing sites during the pandemic via his disaster relief organization CORE and the efforts of the Trump government, which he described as a “obscene administration.”
Seeing the news during the pandemic, he said it “really felt like someone with a machine gun gunning down people from a turret in the White House.”
White he acknowledged the importance of the pre-buy of COVID vaccines, he said “there was no effort integrity from the government until the Trump administration was dismissed.”
Based on Jennifer Vogel’s 2005 memoir, Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life, Flag Day is the first time Penn has directed himself alongside his daughter Dylan Penn (and in a smaller role, his son Hopper Jack Penn).
Asked whether the love for Dylan Penn he displays in the film reflected in some part Sean Penn being an absent father while she was growing up, he said that anyone could check IMDb to check out the “simple jobs” he took during her childhood.
“One of the great things about the privilege I’ve had in working in film and being a parent is that, while there are periods of time where one’s away, once you’re done with that job, you’re the only parent in town 24-7, and that’s when the kids get upset.”
Penn claimed that he actually wanted to cast his daughter from the first time he read the book.
“Certain images come to you when you read something, and in this case the first I saw when reading this was [Dylan’s] face,” said.
In his review, The Hollywood Reporter‘s critic David Rooney had mixed feelings about Flag Dag but said the film was a “significant improvement” on The Last Face, which bowed in Cannes in 2017 to a widespread derision.
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