Paul Dano on How He Prepared to Play Author Nick Flynn in ‘Being Flynn’

paul-danoPaul Dano has a lot of expectations tied to his latest big movie role, Being Flynn, the adaptation of Nick Flynn’s memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. 

Not only is Dano cast as author Nick Flynn himself, but he is acting opposite Robert De Niro, who plays his con artist father, who Flynn encountered while working at a homeless shelter in Boston.  After being “moved by the script,” Dano explains the preparation he underwent in order to play Flynn in the movie.

After reading the script, Dano’s next step before meeting Flynn was to purchase Flynn’s memoir.  However, he found himself confronted but what could only be called a set-up.  He recalls, “I went to my local bookstore to buy it, and the people at the bookstore said, ‘Oh, no, we have a different copy for you.’ They brought me out a copy – with a note written in it to me from Nick. I was spooked; how did he know what bookstore I’d visit to buy the book?  Turns out he lives in my neighborhood.”

Naturally, once Dano got the part he spent a lot of time with Flynn, but was careful to still imbue the role with his own feeling for the character.  He explains, “As  an  actor,  you  want  to  be  faithful  to  the  material,  but  also  to personalize it, so as we talked a lot and spent more time together, I was able to take what I could from both the script — into which Paul [Weitz, writer/director] had put so many  pieces  of  Nick  —  and  Nick  himself,  and  then  make  my  own contributions to the characterization. I wasn’t trying to do an impression.”

Still, there was one element of Flynn that heavily influenced Dano’s characterization: music.  Dano made sure that he was “listening to music that Nick listened to at the time, which I learned about from either asking him or from reading the memoir. For me, music is an art form that I feel slips into your bloodstream. Hearing it on-set helps me stay focused. I would also listen to music that I found relevant in some way to Nick or his story; I think that Nick has a little bit of a punk rock spirit in him.  The lyrics of songs were useful to me as well, since Nick is also a poet — which I’d guess is even harder than being a novelist or a screenwriter.”

There has been some great early praise for Dano, so it seems like all the hard work might pay off for the actor, and Flynn himself has a lot to be proud of.

Being Flynn will be released in theaters on March 2.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/alex-sharp-curious-incident-of-the-dog.jpg
Alex Sharp Talks About His Broadway Debut in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (video)
Alex Sharp went from working in a call-center and renovating houses to going to Julliard. And now, he’s starring in one of the most talked about shows of the season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Check out this great, inspiring video!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Its-only-a-play.jpg
Watch a Scene From Terrance McNally’s, ‘It’s Only a Play’, Featuring Nathan Lane and Micah Stock
Here’s a quick scene from Terrance McNally‘s It’s Only a Play, currently on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theater. In this scene, Nathan Lane and Micah Stock meet for the first time. The show, about the opening night of a new play, also stars Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/birdman-director-alejandro-g-ina.jpg
‘Birdman’ Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu Narrates a Scene from the Film Featuring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu narrates a scene from Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance that features stars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. The film is wonderful and if it’s playing in your town, definitely check it out!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/the-cast-of-mad-men-on-the-final.jpg
The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/behind-the-scenes-of-a-sex-scene.jpg
Behind the Scenes of a Sex Scene with Patrick Wilson, Brooklyn Decker and Director Joe Carnahan
Director Joe Carnahan is giving viewers an inside look at what it is like to film a big screen Hollywood sex scene, as confirmed by Gawker. Carnahan released a brief video clip taken from the set of his latest film Stretch starring supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker and Patrick Wilson. The video showcases the two […]