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Dakota Fanning


Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning
Fanning at the world premiere of the film Very Good Girls on January 22, 2013
Born Hannah Dakota Fanning
(1994-02-23) February 23, 1994
Georgia, U.S.
Education Campbell Hall School
Alma mater New York University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1999–present
Relatives Elle Fanning (sister)

Hannah Dakota Fanning (born February 23, 1994)[1] is an American actress who rose to prominence after her breakthrough performance at age seven in the 2001 film I Am Sam. Her performance earned her a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award at age eight in 2002, making her the youngest nominee in history.[2] As a child actress, she went on to appear in high-profile films such as Man on Fire (2004), War of the Worlds (2005) and Charlotte's Web (2006). Fanning then began the transition to more adult roles with Hounddog (2007) and The Secret Life of Bees (2008). Her recent film roles have included the eponymous character in Coraline (2009), Cherie Currie in The Runaways (2010), Annie James in The Motel Life (2013), and Jane in The Twilight Saga (2009–12).

Although the focus of Fanning's career is acting, she also has fashion-related jobs. Her debut in modeling came in 2009 when she made the cover of various magazines like Elle, Vanity Fair, and Cosmopolitan, among others. She also appeared in the fashion week in New York in 2014, at the opening ceremony of Fashion Week New York Spring / Summer 2015.

Early life

Fanning was born in minor league baseball and now works as an electronics salesman in Los Angeles, California.[3][4] Her maternal grandfather is former American football player Rick Arrington, and her aunt is former ESPN reporter Jill Arrington.[5] Dakota is the elder sister of Elle Fanning, also an actress.

Fanning has English, French, German and Irish ancestry. She and her family are Southern Baptist.[6]

Acting career

1999–2003: Career beginnings

When Fanning was a small child, she was an actress at the Towne Lake Arts Center in Tide commercial. Her first significant acting job was a guest role in the NBC prime-time drama ER, which remains one of her favorite roles ("I played a car accident victim who has leukemia. I got to wear a neck brace and nose tubes for the two days I worked.").[7]

Fanning subsequently had several guest roles on television series, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Practice, and Spin City. She also portrayed the title characters of Ally McBeal and The Ellen Show as young girls. In 2001, Fanning was chosen to star opposite Sean Penn in the movie I Am Sam, the story of a mentally challenged man who fights for the custody of his daughter (played by Fanning). Her role in the film made Fanning the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, being seven years of age at the time.[8] She also won the Best Young Actor/Actress award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for her performance.[9]

In 2002, director Steven Spielberg cast Fanning in the lead child role of Allison "Allie" Clarke/Keys in the science fiction miniseries Taken. By this time, she had received positive notices by several film critics, including Tom Shales of The Washington Post, who wrote that Fanning "has the perfect sort of otherworldly look about her, an enchanting young actress called upon ... to carry a great weight."[10]

In the same year, Fanning appeared in three films: as a kidnap victim who proves to be more than her abductors bargained for in Trapped, as the young version of Reese Witherspoon's character in Sweet Home Alabama, and as Katie in the movie Hansel and Gretel.

A year later, she starred in two prominent films: playing the uptight child to an immature nanny played by Brittany Murphy in Uptown Girls and as Sally in The Cat in the Hat. In addition, Fanning did voice-over work for four animated projects during this period, including voicing Satsuki in Disney's English language release of My Neighbor Totoro, a little girl in the Fox series Family Guy, and a young Wonder Woman in an episode of Cartoon Network's Justice League.

2004–2007: Critical success

Fanning at the London premiere of War of the Worlds, in June 2005

In 2004, Fanning appeared in Man on Fire as Pita, a nine-year-old who wins over the heart of a retired mercenary (Denzel Washington) hired to protect her from kidnappers. Roger Ebert wrote that Fanning "is a pro at only ten years old, and creates a heart-winning character."[11]

Hide and Seek was her first release in 2005, opposite Robert De Niro. The film was generally panned, and critic Chuck Wilson called it "a fascinating meeting of equals – if the child star [Fanning] challenged the master [De Niro] to a game of stare-down, the legend might very well blink first."[12]

Fanning voiced Lilo (succeeding Daveigh Chase) in the direct-to-video film Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch. She also had a small part in the Rodrigo García film Nine Lives (released in October 2005), in which she shared an unbroken nine-minute scene with actress Glenn Close, who had her own praise for Fanning: "She's definitely an old soul. She's one of those gifted people that come along every now and then."[13] Fanning also recorded voice work for Coraline during this time.[14]

Fanning at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008

Fanning completed filming on Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (opposite Kurt Russell) in late October 2004. Russell declared he was astonished by his co-star's performance in the film. Russell, 54, who plays her father in the movie, says, "I guarantee you, (Dakota) is the best actress I will work with in my entire career."[15]

Kris Kristofferson, who plays her character's grandfather in the movie, said that she's like Bette Davis reincarnated.[16] While promoting her role in Dreamer, Fanning became a registered member of Girl Scouts of the USA at a special ceremony, which was followed by a screening of the film for members of the Girl Scouts of the San Fernando Valley Council.[17]

She then went on to star in War of the Worlds, starring alongside Tom Cruise. Released in reverse order (War in June 2005 and Dreamer in the following October), both films were a critical success. War director Steven Spielberg praised "how quickly she understands the situation in a sequence, how quickly she sizes it up, measures it up and how she would really react in a real situation."[18]

Afterwards, Fanning moved straight to another film without a break: Charlotte's Web, which she finished filming in May 2005 in Australia.

Fanning in January 2009

During the summer of 2006, Fanning worked on the film Hounddog, described in press reports as a "dark story of abuse, violence and Elvis Presley adulation in the rural South."[19] Fanning's parents have been criticized for allowing her to film a scene in which her character is raped. However, Fanning defended the film by saying "It's not really happening," to Reuters. "It's a movie, and it's called acting."[20]

In the same year, at the age of twelve, she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, becoming the youngest member in the Academy's history.[21] Later that year, she was ranked 4th in Forbes list of "Top Earning Stars Aged Under 21", having earned an estimated $4 million in 2006.[22]

In the spring of 2007, she filmed Fragments – Winged Creatures alongside Kate Beckinsale, Guy Pearce, Josh Hutcherson, and Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson. She plays Anne Hagen, a girl who witnesses her father's murder and who turns to religion in the aftermath. In July, Fanning appeared on a short film titled Cutlass, one of Glamour's "Reel Moments" based on readers' personal essays. Cutlass was directed by Kate Hudson. Then from September to the end of the year, Fanning filmed Push, which centers on a group of young American expatriates with telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities who hide from the Division(a U.S. government agency) in Hong Kong and band together to try to escape the control of the division.[23] Fanning played Cassie Holmes, a 13-year-old psychic.

2008–present: Independent films and recent roles

Fanning at the premiere Eclipse in June 2010

In January 2008, Fanning began filming the movie adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees, a novel by Sue Monk Kidd.[24] Set in South Carolina in 1964, the story centers on Lily Owens (Fanning), who escapes her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father by running away with her caregiver and only friend (played by Jennifer Hudson) to a South Carolina town where they are taken in by an eccentric trio of beekeeping sisters (played by Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, and Alicia Keys). Her movies Coraline and Push were released on the same day, February 6, 2009.

In March 2008, upon the original creation of the film adaptation Dakota and Elle Fanning were cast to play Kate and Anna respectively in the movie My Sister's Keeper. However, when Dakota heard that she would be required to shave her head for the role, she dropped out of the film as then did Elle. The two sisters were replaced, with Abigail Breslin taking on the lead role as Anna Fitzgerald and Sofia Vassilieva on the role of Kate Fitzgerald.

Fanning played Jane, a member of the Volturi Guard, in New Moon and reprised the role in Eclipse, based on novels by Stephenie Meyer.[25] New Moon was released on November 20, 2009, and Eclipse was released on the following June. On March 3, 2009 at fifteen, Fanning becomes a veteran of the film industry, having worked with the biggest stars of Hollywood and in that momemto ranked number three on the list of Forbes Most Valuable Young Stars after having earned an estimated $14 million.

In 2010, she starred in the movie The Runaways, alongside Kristen Stewart, Stella Maeve, and Scout Taylor-Compton, where she played Cherie Currie, the lead singer of the band. Then from the end of the year until early 2011, Fanning filmed Breaking Dawn, reprising the role of Jane.[26]

Fanning at the Vanity Fair party for the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

Fanning's voice was heard in Rise, a documentary film commissioned by U.S. Figure Skating to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the crash of Sabena Flight 548 which resulted in the loss of the entire American team and subsequent cancellation of the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships. She read a poem written by U.S. national champion Laurence Owen (who died in the crash) that was said to be an eerie premonition of the afterlife.[27][28]

During the summer of 2011 she played Tessa in Now Is Good. Fanning also became the face of Marc Jacobs' Oh, Lola! perfume campaign, but the ad was banned in the UK as the Advertising Standards Authority judged that "the ad could be seen to sexualize a child."[29][30] In 2011, she played Annie James in The Motel Life, which was released on November 8, 2013. In the fall of 2011, Fanning played the starring role in Effie, directed by Richard Laxton, written and co-starred by Emma Thompson, with Greg Wise, Tom Sturridge, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Derek Jacobi and Claudia Cardinale.

In August 2012, she signed on to play the lead role of a wealthy financial eco-terrorist, Dena Brauer, who finances a plan, in a thriller film [32]

In January 2013, she was cast as Beverly Aadland in the Errol Flynn biopic The Last of Robin Hood.[33] Later that year in September, Fanning was cast as Olivia in Franny.[34] In November, she was cast in Viena and The Fantomes as Viena; about a roadie traveling across America with a punk rock band in the 1980s.[35] The film is set to be released in 2015.[36]

In February 2014, she recorded a voice role for the animated movie Yellowbird.[37]

Personal life

In June 2011, Fanning graduated from Campbell Hall School in North Hollywood, California,[38] where she participated on the varsity spirit cheerleading squad and was voted homecoming queen.[39][40] Since 2011, she has attended New York University.[41]

In January 2012, it was reported that Fanning signed to be represented by WME (William Morris-Endeavor),[42] thus ending a ten-year-plus relation with Osbrink Talent Agency.[43] In April 2014, it was announced that Fanning switched agencies again and is now represented by CAA.[44]

Fanning began dating British model Jamie Strachan in 2013.[45]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Father Xmas Clairee Short
2001 Tomcats Little Girl in Park
2001 I Am Sam Lucy Diamond Dawson
2002 Trapped Abigail "Abbie" Jennings
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Young Melanie
2002 Hansel and Gretel Katie
2003 Uptown Girls Lorraine "Ray" Schleine
2003 Cat in the Hat, TheThe Cat in the Hat Sally Walden
2003 Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time Preschool Kim Voice role
2004 Man on Fire Lupita "Pita" Martin Ramos
2004 My Neighbor Totoro Satsuki Kusakabe Voice role
2004 In the Realms of the Unreal Narrator Voice role
2005 Hide and Seek Emily Callaway
2005 Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch Lilo Pelekai Voice role/replacing Daveigh Chase
2005 Nine Lives Maria
2005 War of the Worlds Rachel Ferrier
2005 Dreamer Cale Crane
2006 Charlotte's Web Fern Arable
2007 Hounddog Lewellen
2007 Cutlass Lacy Short
2008 Secret Life of Bees, TheThe Secret Life of Bees Lily Owens
2009 Coraline Coraline Jones Voice role
2009 Push Cassie Holmes
2009 Fragments – Winged Creatures Anne Hagen
2009 Twilight Saga: New Moon, TheThe Twilight Saga: New Moon Jane Volturi
2010 Runaways, TheThe Runaways Cherie Currie
2010 Twilight Saga: Eclipse, TheThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse Jane Volturi
2012 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Jane Volturi
2012 Celia Hannah Jones Short
2012 The Motel Life Annie James
2012 Now Is Good Tessa Scott
2013 Night Moves Dena Brauer
2013 The Last of Robin Hood Beverly Aadland
2014 Very Good Girls Lilly Berger
2014 Effie Euphemia 'Effie' Gray
2014 Every Secret Thing Ronnie Fuller
2014 Yellowbird Delf Voice role; English version
2015 Franny Olivia
2015 Viena and the Fantomes Viena In post-production
2016 Brimstone Liz Filming
2016 American Pastoral Merry Levov Filming


Year Title Role Episode
2000 ER Delia Chadsey "The Fastest Year"
2000 Ally McBeal Ally (5 years old) "Ally McBeal: The Musical, Almost"
2000 Strong Medicine Edie's Girl "Misconceptions"
2000 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Brenda Collins "Blood Drops"
2000 Practice, TheThe Practice Alessa Engel "The Deal"
2000 Spin City Cindy "Toy Story"
2001 Malcolm in the Middle Emily "New Neighbors"
2001 Fighting Fitzgeralds, TheThe Fighting Fitzgeralds Marie "Pilot"
2001 Family Guy Little girl "To Love and Die in Dixie"
2001 Ellen Show, TheThe Ellen Show Young Ellen "Missing the Bus"
2002 Taken Allie Keys Miniseries; 10 episodes (voice only in 6)
2004 Justice League Unlimited Young Wonder Woman (voice) "Kids' Stuff"
2004 Friends Mackenzie "The One with Princess Consuela"

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2001 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Performer I Am Sam Won [46]
2002 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Youth in Film I Am Sam Won [47]
2002 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role I Am Sam Nominated [48]
2002 Satellite Awards Outstanding New Talent I Am Sam Won
2002 Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Performer I Am Sam Won
2002 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Actress Age Ten or Under I Am Sam Won [49]
2003 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Special – Leading Young Actress Taken Won [50]
2003 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series Taken Nominated
2004 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Cat in the Hat, TheThe Cat in the Hat Nominated [51]
2005 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Man on Fire Nominated [52]
2005 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Nine Lives Nominated [53]
2005 Locarno International Film Festival Best Actress Nine Lives Won
2005 MTV Movie Awards Best Frightened Performance Hide and Seek Won [54]
2005 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Youth in Film War of the Worlds Won
2005 Irish Film and Television Awards Best International Actress War of the Worlds Nominated [55]
2005 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Actress War of the Worlds Won
2006 MTV Movie Awards Best Frightened Performance War of the Worlds Nominated [56]
2006 Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor War of the Worlds Won [57]
2006 National Association of Theatre Owners (ShoWest Award) Actress of the Year Won [54]
2006 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Dreamer Nominated
2006 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actress Dreamer Won [58]
2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actress Hide and Seek Nominated
2006 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Actress Charlotte's Web Nominated
2007 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Charlotte's Web Nominated [59]
2007 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Charlotte's Web Won
2008 Black Reel Awards Best Ensemble Cast Secret Life of Bees, TheThe Secret Life of Bees Nominated
2008 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Actress Secret Life of Bees, TheThe Secret Life of Bees Nominated
2008 Hollywood Film Festival Cast year (Shared with cast) Secret Life of Bees Won
2009 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Performer Secret Life of Bees Nominated
2009 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actress Secret Life of Bees, TheThe Secret Life of Bees Won [60]
2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival Rising Star Award Won [61]
2010 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Young Actor/Actress Coraline Nominated [62]
2010 MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss (shared with Kristen Stewart) Runaways, TheThe Runaways Nominated [63]
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Scene Stealer – Female The Twilight Saga: New Moon Nominated
2013 National Arts Awards Bell Family Foundation Young Artist Award Won


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