Dakota Fanning (born Hannah Dakota Fanning, 23.2.1994)
Dakota Fanning is an American actress, best known for her roles in films such as Charlotte's Web and I Am Sam.
Dakota Fanning: Childhood
Dakota Fanning was born in Conyers, Georgia, to Joy and Steve Fanning. Her mother was a tennis professional and her father was a minor league baseball player, then an electronics salesman. On her mother's side, her grandfather, Rick Arrington was an American footballer and her aunt, Jill Arrington, was a reporter on ESPN. Dakota's younger sister Elle Fanning is also an actress.
Fanning's family are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dakota studied at Campbell High School in North Hollywood, California. She is also on the cheerleading squad at her high school.
Dakota Fanning: Acting Career
Dakota Fanning's acting career began when she was five years old, when she was cast in a Tide commercial. Her first serious acting job was in the NBC drama ER, playing a leukemia sufferer who was also in a car accident.
Following her role on ER, Dakota Fanning landed a number of guest roles on series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Spin City and The Practice. She was also selected to play the younger versions of the title characters of Ally McBeal and The Ellen Show.
Dakota Fanning's big break came in 2001, when she starred opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam. In the film, Sean Penn plays the role of a mentally impaired man who has to fight for custody of his daughter. Her performance in the film led to her being nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. At eight years of age, she became the youngest person ever to have been nominated for the award. The Broadcast Film Critics Association also awarded her the Best Young Actor/Actress award.
Dakota Fanning then landed the main child role in the Steven Spielberg-directed mini series Taken in 2002. Later that year, Dakota was cast as a kidnap victim in Trapped (starring Courtney Love, Charlize Theron and Kevin Bacon). She was also cast alongside Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama and in Hansel and Gretel, with Jacob Smith and Taylor Momsen.
In 2003, Dakota Fanning played the child to Brittany Murphy's nanny in Uptown Girls. She also played Sally in The Cat in the Hat, the Dr. Seuss adaptation starring Mike Myers, Kelly Preston and Alec Baldwin.
Fanning provided voice-overs for a number of animated projects, including Kim Possible, My Neighbour Totoro and Family Guy.
2004 saw Dakota Fanning appearing in Man on Fire. She played the role of Pita, alongside Denzel Washington, who plays the role of a man hired to protect her from kidnappers. Fanning continued to work alongside highly revered actors, including Robert De Niro, with whom she worked on Hide and Seek. In Lilo & Stitch: Stitch Has A Glitch, Fanning provided the voice of Stitch. Following this, she provided the voice for the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.
When Dakota Fanning worked with Kurt Russell and Kris Kristofferson on Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, Kristofferson compared her to Bette Davis. She also featured in War of the Worlds, along with Tom Cruise. The director Steven Spielberg was equally complimentary.
In 2005, Dakota Fanning starred in Charlotte's Web, which was filmed in Australia.
The following year, Dakota Fanning starred in Hounddog. The film was shrouded in controversy, as Fanning appears in a scene in which her character is raped. The film's director, Deborah Kampmeier spoke out in her defence. At the age of 12, Dakota Fanning became the youngest person to be invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2007, Fanning starred alongside Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Guy Pearce and Kate Beckinsale in Fragments - Winged Creatures.
Dakota Fanning's career continues apace, with the 2008 release of the Secret Life of Bees (starring Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo). She has also been cast in New Moon, the new adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. Fanning is also cast to play Cherie Currie, the lead singer of The Runaways, in the film of the same name.