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Michael Penn: “Part of me thinks Hannah’s really more the voice of MY generation”

Musician Michael Penn has the enviable, if not incredibly difficult task of scoring "Girls." OK, that didn't sound quite right. Allow me to rephrase: Penn composes the music for Lena Dunham's HBO series, which he's done from the very beginning. Of course, he's scored films before — for Paul Thomas Anderson: "Hard Eight" and "Boogie Nights," among many other films. I tried to imagine what it must be like to evoke through music the millennial female Brooklyn experience, as a 54-year-old man living in Los Angeles — and frankly, I couldn't (and I'm a huge fan of "Girls" and I live in Brooklyn!). But he gets Lena Dunham, and he fully appreciates the state of mind she's tapping into, because he says, what she's writing resonates as much with his generation as hers — he admits, in our conversation, it involves at least some degree of entitlement. Penn, who is funny and warm and smart as hell, is perhaps best known for his first single "No Myth (Mr. Romeo in Black Jeans)" and his collaborations with singer-songwriter wife Aimee Mann. He talked with me about what it's like to work with Dunham, and set the mood of Hannah's world.

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