"Acting is what I love to do. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I don't think
of it as work. It's really fun for me. And home schooling works out perfectly."
Blue-eyed, strawberry blonde-haired child actress Dakota Fanning received rave
reviews while portraying Sean Penn's daughter, Lucy Diamond Dawson, in the
acclaimed drama, I Am Sam (2001). She later gained more recognition starring
with such A-list actors as Mike Myers in The Cat in the Hat (2003), Denzel
Washington in Man on Fire (2004), and Robert De Niro in Hide and Seek (2005).
The youngest nominee for a Screen Actors Guild Award (I Am Sam), Dakota is
currently preparing for her upcoming film projects, Dreamer (with Kurt Russell),
War of the Worlds (alongside Tom Cruise), and Charlotte's Web.
Childhood and Family:
"I like everything perfect. Everything has to be neat. My sister is 5 and she's
more messy than I am. I make my bed every morning, everything's perfect. My
shoes are all arranged. It's sad." Dakota Fanning
Of Scandinavian descent, Hannah Dakota Fanning was born on the 23rd of February,
1994, in Conyers, Georgia, to parents Steve (an electrician, ex baseball player)
and Joy Fanning. Her younger sister is actress Elle Fanning (Because of
Winn-Dixie, Daddy Day Care, born on April 9, 1998), with whom Dakota omce
role-played with around the house.
"I'm just a normal kid, really. I just love to act." Dakota Fanning
Dakota is home-schooled by her parents and has a teacher who is always with her
during filming. The 11-year-old actress, whose favorite movie is Gone With the
Wind and favorite actors are Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank, is off-screen, just
like any other kid. She loves to play with friends, collect dolls, ride horses,
read American history and take ballet. She is also afraid of the dark and always
sleeps with her teddy bear.
Hide and Seek
"I've always wanted to be an actress, ever since I was a little girl. I've
always played the mom and I play my sister as the daughter. I wanted to be an
actress on television and movies instead of just around the house." Dakota
Realizing their daughter's special talent, Mr. and Mrs. Fanning took Dakota to
Atlanta talent agent Joy Pervis. At age five, Dakota landed her first acting
work in a Tide detergent commercial. In the next year, she appeared as a guest
on a string of TV series, including NBC's hit ER (playing a leukemia patient),
Fox's popular Ally McBeal (as 5-year-old Ally), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,
The Practice, Spin City, and Malcolm in the Middle, as well as The Fighting
2001 seemed to be Dakota's breakout year. She received her silver screen debut
in Marie Rose's feature film, Father Xmas (starred as army brat Clairee), and
appeared in Gregory Poirier's comedy, Tomcats (starring Jerry O'Connell and
Shannon Elizabeth). Also in the same year, Dakota achieved critical acclaim for
portraying Sean Penn's daughter, Lucy Diamond Dawson, in Jessie Nelson's drama I
Am Sam (also starring Michelle Pfeiffer). Her brilliant acting work netted her a
Broadcast Film Critic Association Best Young Actress Award, A Golden Satellite
for Outstanding New Talent, a Sierra Award, a Las Vegas Film Critics Society
Award, and a Young Artist Award. Dakota also became the youngest nominee for a
Screen Actors Guild Award when she was nominated at merely 8 years old.
The following year was unstoppable for Dakota. She played important roles in
Luis Mandoki's adaptation of Greg Iles' novel, the thriller Trapped (as Charlize
Theron's daughter), Andy Tennant's romance-comedy Sweet Home Alabama (playing
young Reese Witherspoon), and in Gary J. Tunnicliffe's fantasy Hansel & Gretel
(starring Taylor Momsen and Jacob Smith). She also starred as Allison 'Allie'
Clarke/Keys in the acclaimed sci-fi miniseries Taken (with Julie Benz and Emily
In 2003, Dakota joined with Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin, and Kelly Preston in Bo
Welch's adaptation of Dr. Seuss' book, the family fantasy The Cat in the Hat
(playing Sally), and Brittany Murphy became her nanny in Boaz Yakin's drama
comedy, Uptown Girls. On the small screen, Dakota provided her voice in the TV
movie, Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time, as well as making guest appearances in
the hit shows: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Mad TV, Ellen: The Ellen
DeGeneres Show, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Another praised role came in 2004 when Dakota played guarded child Pita in Tony
Scott's adaptation of A.J. Quinnell's crime action novel, Man of Fire (with
Denzel Washington as her bodyguard). The role earned her a Young Artist Award
nomination. After being cast in Jessica Yu's In the Realms of the Unreal (2004),
she subsequently played a role in Rodrigo García's drama Nine Lives (2005,
starring Aomawa Baker and Kathy Baker). She also appeared as a guest in the
popular sitcom Friends in February of 2004.
"Dakota is a wonderful, special, gifted actress and one of the most professional
I've worked with." Robert De Niro
In 2005, Dakota was seen in the starring role of Robert De Niro's daughter,
troubled kid Emily, in the box office thriller Hide and Seek (2005). She is now
currently busy with her forthcoming films.
Fanning will portray Kurt Russell's daughter in John Gatins' drama Dreamer, Tom
Cruise's daughter in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel, War of
the Worlds, and star as Fern in Gary Winick's family fantasy, Charlotte's Web.
"I've been very lucky enough to do all kinds of movies. All the movies that I've
done have been very different and all the characters I've done have been very
different. I feel very lucky to have been able to do the movies that I've done."
Broadcast Film Critic Association: Best Young Actor/Actress, I Am Sam,
Golden Satellite: Outstanding New Talent, I Am Sam, 2002
Sierra Award: Youth in Film, I Am Sam, 2002
Young Artist: Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actress Age Ten
or Under, I Am Sam, 2002
Las Vegas Film Critics Society, I Am Sam, 2002