Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning

Actor
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Life Story

Hannah Dakota Fanning was born on the 23rd of February 1994, in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and Channel Islander descent. Before her debut into the cinematic world, Dakota did her own acting around her house. She was very active for her age, and often put a blanket under her shirt and pretended to be having a baby, using her younger sister, Elle Fanning, who is also an actress now, as the baby. Dakota went to a playhouse near her home, where the children that attended put on a play every week to show to their parents. But the people running the playhouse noticed that Dakota stood out, and advised her parents to take her to an agency. They believed that she was extremely talented.

The Fanning family were advised to spend six weeks in Los Angeles, a long way from their home in Georgia. But there Dakota managed to get her first work; to star in a national Tide commercial. She was chosen out of many, many other children.

The family then decided to move to Los Angeles permanently, for it looked like Dakota's career was looking very good. After they moved, Dakota signed with a professional agency, and soon won a role in the movie Tomcats (2001). She then went onto a small project called Father Xmas (2001) as Clairee.

But Dakota's big break-through was yet to come. She auditioned for one of the main characters in I Am Sam (2001), and the director and the rest of the crew were amazed by her extraordinary talent. Dakota was cast, and starred in the movie as Lucy Diamond Dawson, alongside major Hollywood stars Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer.

After I Am Sam (2001) her talent was immediately recognized around the world. She went straight onto Trapped (2002) as Abby Jennings, alongside Charlize Theron, then played the younger version of Reese Witherspoon in 2002's Sweet Home Alabama (2002) But Dakota still had two more movies to come in 2002. Firstly she got a huge role in Steven Spielberg's Taken (2002), the mini-TV series, and narrated the ten whole episodes, as well as having a part. This was a little more challenging, as she was playing a troubled alien child, but she managed to do brilliantly. Her last movie for 2002 was the children's movie Hansel & Gretel (2002) as Katie.

 
 
Family

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Trivia

She learned to read a little at the age of two.
At the age of eight, she became the youngest person to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award - for her supporting acting in the movie I Am Sam (2001).
When she received the Best Young Actor/Actress award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for her performance in I Am Sam (2001), she was too short to reach the microphone to give her acceptance speech. Presenter Orlando Bloom held her up to the mike for the duration of her speech, which turned out to be quite long.
She began her acting career at the age of five when she was picked for a Tide detergent commercial.
Her father named her Dakota, her mother named her Hannah. She then was named Hannah Dakota Fanning.
Dakota is one of 14 grandchildren.
Parents are Joy Fanning (aka Joy Arrington Fanning) and Steven Fanning.
Her favorite films include Gone with the Wind (1939), Steel Magnolias (1989) and Titanic (1997).
Collected dolls when she was younger.
Dakota was schooled at home and on sets by her tutor, but she joined high school in her freshman year.
Looks up to Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank, "not just because they're great actresses, but because they are amazing people".
Fanning is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Fionn, meaning "fair", and may have Norman roots from the Viking invasion of northern France. Her mother's maiden name Arrington has links to the east of England, notably Cambridgeshire.
She donated many signed items to Rocky Stone to be given away as prizes in a Dakota Fanning Contest to benefit less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign 2005 and Toy Mountain Campaign 2006.
First time she visited England was on the June 19, 2005 with Tom Cruise, to attend the premiere of War of the Worlds (2005) at London's Leicester Square.
Loves to knit and has knitted scarfs for Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Tim Robbins.
For the 'sad' scenes in I Am Sam (2001), she thought of her pet goldfish, Flounder, dying.
Carried a book of baby names with her wherever she went as a child.
She has been to Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, England and France.
Was a member of the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet for one year.
On her eleventh birthday, Tom Cruise gave her a cell phone.
Listed as a potential nominee on the 2004 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her role in The Cat in the Hat (2003). She was also suggested as an official nominee in the "Worst Screen Couple" couple category with co-star Spencer Breslin in The Cat in the Hat (2003). She was relieved to get neither of these nominations.

 

Personal Quotes 

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.
[on working with Denzel Washington in Man on Fire (2004)]: Working with him, I loved every minute of it. I couldn't wait to see him everyday. He's one of the best actors in the world and I loved observing him.
I think Orlando Bloom is cute. I met him at an awards show. I was actually nominated and I won that one. When I went up on stage, they didn't have a step for me to step on at the Critics' Choice Awards so he had to hold me up. He held me for a LONG, LONG time!
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.
I want to keep acting. I want to go to college, sure, but I really want to keep acting right now. It's so fun.
I'm just a normal kid, really. I just love to act.
I learned that it can be very hurtful to talk about others. You know, I read a quote by Oprah Winfrey where she said, "Turn your wounds into wisdom." It's not nice to spread rumors.
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.
It's fun to know what I want to do - you know, when I grow up. I have friends who say, "Oh, maybe I'll be an astronaut or whatever." But it's cool to want to do this forever. I knew from my first commercial that I wanted to be an actress.
When I go on a movie set, I'm learning about movies. I learned 100 lessons a day from Steven Spielberg. I always think I might not have this opportunity again, so I try to cram a lot of information into my brain.
My dad named me Dakota and my mom came up with my first name Hannah. So it's Hannah Dakota Fanning.
[on Hounddog (2007)]: It was a script that I loved and it's, you know, ultimately my decision because I'm playing the character but, of course, my mom and my agent read everything, but it was no different than anything else.
I have no problem shooting emotional scenes.
I feel so blessed to have been able to be in War of the Worlds (2005).
I think it's everyone's dream to win an Oscar. I'd love just to go to the Oscars and it would be fun. That would be great!

 
 
Filmography

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