Dy­lan O’Brien’s fa­ther lends sup­port to his ‘As­sas­sin’ son

Af­ter re­cov­ery, Dad was there for the whole movie

USA TODAY International Edition - - LIFE - Bryan Alexan­der @BryAlexand USA TO­DAY

LOS AN­GE­LES Dy­lan O’Brien re­calls the stress-filled mo­ments he un­der­went be­fore board­ing the plane last Septem­ber to shoot Amer­i­can As­sas­sin.

O’Brien, 26, had spent the pre­vi­ous six months re­cov­er­ing at home from a se­ri­ous head in­jury re­ceived in a stunt gone wrong on the set of Maze Run­ner: The Death Cure.

He wasn’t sure he could get on the plane, much less make it through the ar­du­ous As­sas­sin shoot, his first movie since the trau­matic ac­ci­dent.

That’s where the sup­port of his fa­ther kicked in.

“I just couldn’t han­dle it,” says O’Brien ahead of Amer­i­can As­sas­sin’s ar­rival in the­aters Fri­day, think­ing back to LAX. “The day of the flight, I don’t know if I would have ever got­ten on the plane with­out my dad.”

O’Brien re­mem­bers be­ing de­pressed, anx­ious and of­ten an­gry as he re­cov­ered. He counted on the sup­port of his girl­friend, ac­tress Britt Robert­son (The Long­est Ride), and his par­ents, Pa­trick and Lisa O’Brien.

“(They) saw in the most in­ti­mate way the state I was in, how I was strug­gling that sum­mer,” says O’Brien. “The most aw­ful, scari­est thing that ever hap­pened to us as a fam­ily, was, in a weird way, what brought this ex­pe­ri­ence to­gether O’Brien’s fa­ther, Pa­trick, ac­com­pa­nied him to the set, ini­tially just to get him set­tled with direc­tor Michael Cuesta, above. later.”

When a soul-search­ing O’Brien agreed to step into the part of Mitch Rapp, the ti­tle char­ac­ter in Vince Flynn’s Amer­i­can As­sas­sin thriller, with the sup­port of his doc­tors, his fa­ther of­fered to put aside his ca­reer as a cam­era­man to ac­com­pany him to the set.

“I was hav­ing so many doubts — truly ran­dom panic at­tacks and feel­ing over­whelmed. And go­ing back and forth about whether I could do it or not. Be­ing so scared,” says O’Brien. “My par­ents de­cided that one of them would be happy to go with me. I was like, ‘You don’t to have to do that.’ ”

Pa­trick in­tended to stay a cou­ple of weeks to set­tle Dy­lan into the role with direc­tor Michael Cuesta. But fa­ther and son started feel­ing com­fort­able with the ar­range­ment.

“I loved hav­ing him (there). My fa­ther said, ‘Look, I’ll fin­ish this with you,’ ” O’Brien says. “He ended up be­ing with me the whole time, such a big part of the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

When Cuesta yelled “Cut!” on the fi­nal day of shoot­ing, things got emo­tional.

“That was a mo­ment of re­ally in­tense re­lief and pride, over­whelm­ing gen­uine emo­tion. I was just flash­ing back to the pre­vi­ous months. The ac­ci­dent and ev­ery­thing there­after. And ev­ery­thing it took for me to do this,” says O’Brien. “Fast-for­ward, I had com­pleted it. And I had my dad right there with me.”

His fa­ther was the first to con­grat­u­late him.

“Ev­ery­one was clap­ping. And we had this big hug, this re­ally emo­tional mo­ment for us. He was like, ‘You (ex­ple­tive) did it, man,’ ” says O’Brien. “That was one of the best mo­ments of my life.”

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS­TIAN BLACK, CBS FOR LIONSGATE

Af­ter re­cov­er­ing at home, Dy­lan O’Brien chan­neled his angst over whether he could work to play Mitch Rapp.

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