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Johnny Flynn puts together acting, music in new movie role

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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South African-born troubadour Johnny Flynn has largely kept his music and acting careers separate, releasing four albums -- including last year's critically acclaimed "Country Mile" -- parallel to roles in films such as "Something in the Air" and assorted TV appearances.

The upcoming "Song One," however, marks the first time he's allowed the two paths to intersect.

"I pretty much play somebody quite like myself," says Flynn, whose James Forrestor is the love interest of "Song One" star Anne Hathaway. "At the same time, it definitely was an acting role. There's a distinct story in this guy; the character has a real arc, and the things that are holding him up in his life and the way he overcomes those things with the help of the relationship he falls into is a nice story, and really kind of fulfilling as an actor."

And musically, Flynn adds, it helps that the material was written by others -- fellow singer-songwriters Jonathan Rice and Jenny Lewis -- rather than himself. "I did write one song for it, and it ended up on the cutting room floor," Flynn says. "That's not a bad thing, I don't think. This way I'm completely the character, singing other people's songs and not bleeding into what I do in my own musical life."

"Song One" premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, while Flynn is back to playing his own music on the road -- this time solo rather than with his regular band, the Sussex Wit.

"I like it," Flynn says of being on his own. "It feels like a more concentrated communication between me and the audience. There's space to pull the song apart a bit and go back a bit to the state of how they were when they were written, just me in my bedroom, figuring things out.

"There's a lot of space to do whatever I want. I can stop and talk about (the songs) when I want. I love the band and I miss them when they're not there, but it's nice to have this freedom, too, and to remember how the songs sound with just me and a guitar."

Johnny Flynn and The Melodic, perform Friday, Jan. 24, in the Pike Room at the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day of show. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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