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Sean Flynn has a swashbuckling heritage

The ‘Zoey 101’ star's grandfather is the legendary Errol Flynn
/ Source: The Associated Press

He never met him, but Sean Flynn can rattle off at rapid speed all of the high points in the life of his legendary grandfather, Errol Flynn.

“I know that basically he was born in Tasmania, in Australia, and as a child he was taken to Sydney, where he attended two schools and was quickly expelled from both,” the teenage actor notes with a laugh. “Later, he moved to New Guinea and bought a tobacco farm that failed. And after that he moved out to Hollywood and — by his third film — he was an overnight sensation.”

With such a pedigree, Flynn has had to field the same question repeatedly since landing a leading role two years ago on “Zoey 101,” television’s top-rated show with the 11-to-14-year-old crowd: Does he plan to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, who went on to become not only the most popular leading man of his time but also a successful Hollywood ladies man?

“I don’t know,” the 16-year-old replies rather sheepishly. “We can only hope, right?”

For the moment, Flynn is content to portray Chase Matthews, the likable if socially awkward love interest in the life of private school student Zoey Brooks, played by 14-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears.

Ready for romance and a driver’s licenseAs the show’s second season winds down with a special episode premiering 8 p.m. ET Friday on Nickelodeon and repeating several times throughout the weekend, Chase finally professes his love.

Unfortunately, he does it in an e-mail Zoey wasn’t supposed to see. His bumbling efforts to take it back provide the twists and turns in a comic mystery designed to appeal not only to the tweeners but to anyone who has pushed the button on an electronic communication without thinking.

Flynn acknowledges he’s had his own share of fumbling efforts at romance, although he says he’s getting better at it with age.

“I’ve recently started to, ah, I don’t know, get myself together in that department,” he says.

Of more concern to him at the moment is getting through high school and eventually getting a driver’s license.

“I think I need to apply myself a bit more,” the upbeat, personable 10th-grader says by phone shortly after arriving home from a day at school.

A cutie that a mother can loveActing, he indicates, is far easier, particularly for someone who grew up in the business. His father is a documentary filmmaker and his mother a photographer.

He began appearing in commercials as a baby, and by 6 he was traveling to Hawaii to promote a hotel.

A series of TV guest appearances and roles in largely forgotten films followed before Dan Schneider, creator of such hit children’s series as “The Amanda Show,” “Drake and Josh” and “All That,” cast him in “Zoey 101.”

“He was cute and handsome, but not in an off-putting or threatening way,” Schneider says of the baby-faced, curly haired teen. “He seemed like a guy little teenage girls would love, but also their mothers would love too.”

Schneider never knew of the Errol Flynn connection until the show was in production.

The grandson acknowledges it’s a connection that doesn’t get him much mileage from his fan base.

“No one my age really knows who he is,” Flynn says of the action hero who died in 1959.

“But I can tell you,” he adds, “if I ever go to a tennis club or an old-age home or someplace where older people are, I’ll definitely get recognized. ... If it’s a woman, they’ll say, ‘I was so in love with him.’ If it’s a guy, they’ll say, ‘My wife was so in love with him.”’