At a press conference for his film in competition in Cannes Flag day, actor-director Sean Penn has taken aim at former President Donald Trump after being asked about his own humanitarian efforts during the ongoing pandemic – on his own and under the banner of his Core Project (Community Organized Relief Effort), Penn has been responsible for bringing much-needed tests and vaccinations to underprivileged areas of major US cities.

“I don’t think I can illuminate anything that shouldn’t be clear to the eye,” Penn said calmly. “We have been – not only as a country, but as a world – left behind and ultimately neglected, ill-informed, truth and reason have been assaulted under what was, in all respects, an obscene administration, humanly. and politically. When my team and I came home from testing and vaccination sites at night, especially during the testing period during the Trump administration … it was really like someone with a machine gun was shooting down the most vulnerable communities in a country. turret in the White House. “

Sean Penn keeps it all in family with Flag Day in Cannes: Deadline Q&A

He reserved praise for Trump’s successor Joe Biden and the task force he convened shortly after taking office in January this year. “It was like a sun was rising,” he remarked. “But there was no integrity effort on the part of the federal government before the Trump administration was fired.”

The comments turned out to be a rare detour in a policy; the remainder of the press conference was devoted to discussing Penn’s film, an adaptation of Jennifer Vogel’s memoir, in which Penn plays the author’s real crook father, John Vogel, and Penn’s daughter, Dylan, plays Jennifer herself.

While the role feels natural to Penn, he claimed he originally only intended to direct. “It wasn’t originally planned,” he said, “partly because I had adopted a kind of religion of clarity that I never wanted to do a second job when I had a first. director’s job – acting and directing was not appealing to me. In this case, over time, with a lot of encouragement from the producers, it became necessary to decide who was going to play that role. that the last effort I made not to play it was when I sent the script, about a month and a half before filming began, to Matt Damon, who was kind enough to read it very quickly and call me – not to say he could do it, not to say he could not do it, but to say that I was a jerk for not taking this opportunity to play with my daughter. C ‘was therefore a bit of the last straw.

Penn also spoke of Alejandro González Iñárritu having been briefly considered a director before his own involvement. “I think of Alejandro as [being] as good a filmmaker as we have in the world today, ”said Penn. And so of course the answer is, if I want to work with anyone, [I’d] put it at the top of this list. But it wasn’t even certain, at the time, if I was going to do it, if I remember correctly. It was just to see if he wanted to watch him direct. And he spent time with [screenwriter] Jez Butterworth, but I don’t really know how it is [went]. He invested it, I think, in Bird man… And so it just drifted.

For her part, Dylan Penn said she also had doubts about taking the role. “At first I was very worried,” she said. “I think I said no probably 10 times before I said yes. I had read the book when I was 15, then coming back to it when I was almost 30, it was almost like reading my own newspaper. I felt like I had a lot of parallels to the story, and I felt I could reference my own experiences and add something to this character, especially after meeting Jennifer. I think the most amazing thing Jennifer has given me is that she told me that she doesn’t want anyone to imitate her. She didn’t need me to copy it, she just wanted the story told. And I think the script did it in a nice way.

To learn more about Deadline Flag day and dive deep with Penn, click here.

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