Little Miss Sunshine star Paul Dano talks about new film For Ellen

From writer-director So Yong Kim comes the indie, child-custody tale For Ellen, starring Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood).

He said of the new film: "This was probably one of my favourite parts I got to play and one of the hardest for me.

“I feel like I got to do something new and push myself and did it successfully I think.“

For Ellen is about aspiring rocker Joby Taylor (Dano) who is in the middle of a divorce.

Dano continued: "Joby is very different from myself, which was part of the turn on of the character.

“I had to first just surround myself with a different type of music than I listen to and read Tommy Lee's book and Slash’s book and Motley Crew, and just surround myself with some people with some real attitude and vanity.

“I think Joby is a selfish vein guy who really wants to make it. And the second you paint your nails black and put on a necklace you start to feel a little different, and you put on a leather jacket and tight jeans and you feel a little more different. “

If Joby agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva) he can earn money from the sale of their home, but in exchange he'll have to give up custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (Shaylena Mandigo).

Dano is a regular in small budget, indie darlings that often garner more buzz at film festivals than at the box office. He says he tries to focus on his performance rather than a movie's commercial success.

The 28-year-old explained: "I think you go to the film festivals and you put out the film and hopefully people like it and I do think that that has an effect on the success. Right - does a film makes its money back, do it do exceptionally well, does it not make its money back? That has an impact on it as well.

“For me I try to remain steadfast in just keeping it about the success of the work rather than the things I can't control.“

For Ellen also stars Jena Malone and Jon Heder, whose career was launched at Sundance with his title role in Napoleon Dynamite.

The film opens in select US theatres on September 5, with a UK date to be confirmed.