In Flag Day, Penn plays the father of a character played by Dylan Penn, who makes her film debut.
Penn also directed the film, which is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival.
According to the actor, he had been looking around for another person to play his role, when Matt Damon offered some words of wisdom.
“A month and a half before shooting started, Matt Damon called me, not to say he could or couldn’t, but that I was a stupid schmuck not to take this opportunity to act with my daughter in this thing,” said Penn, at a press conference (per Indie Wire).
“That was the last straw. Once I decided to do that, it was a big burden off me.”
Flag Day is based on Jennifer Vogel’s memoir, Flim-Flam Man: A True Family History, which tells the story of her father’s double life as a con artist and bank robber.
Penn plays Vogel’s father, John Vogel, in the film, while Dylan plays Vogel herself.