Sean Penn is getting a lot of attention for comments he made yesterday in the Independent while promoting his latest film, Flag Day.
The project is Penn’s latest directorial effort, one in which he also stars with real-life daughter Dylan Penn. Based on the autobiographical Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life written by Jennifer Vogel, Flag Day is about the unique bond between a daughter and a messed-up but charismatic father, John Vogel, who spent years in prison for a bank robbery, was a grand schemer and dreamer, and who became the most notorious counterfeiter in U.S. history, single-handedly faking over $20 million.
Deadline’s reviewer, Pete Hammond called Penn’s character “an underworld guy who feels he is always just one step away from the American Dream.”
Penn told the Independent he feels the Vogel is reflective of a certain “white American male entitlement” that he sees in the country these days. “Or rather, I should say, [in the] belief that this American Dream that was promised [to] them entitles them to it. And that is a very hard wiring to correct.”
It’s likely in that context, and in the context of the film’s relationship between a less-then-stellar father and his daughter, that Penn’s comments were made, beginning with his assertion that “there has been an absence of male behavior” in society today.
“I am in the club that believes that men in American culture have become wildly feminized,” Penn told the British publication i as he discussed the film. “I don’t think that being a brute or having insensitivity or disrespect for women is anything to do with masculinity, or ever did. But I don’t think that [in order] to be fair to women, we should become them.”
Asked about those comments by the Independent, he said in another interview published this week, “I think that men have, in my view, become quite feminized. I have these very strong women in my life who do not take masculinity as a sign of oppression toward them. There are a lot of, I think, cowardly genes that lead to people surrendering their jeans and putting on a skirt.”
Deadline reached out to Penn’s reps, but they had no further comment.
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