Imagine being one of the biggest stars in Hollywoodbefore you become a teenager! That's what happened to 11-year-old Dakota Fanning, who has acted in more than a dozen films and shared the silver screen with costars including Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, and Mike Myers. In her latest movie, Dreamer, Dakota stars as the daughter of a horse trainer who nurses an injured horse back to health. We caught up with Dakota just before the movie hit theaters. Here's what she had to say:
Q & A
What was the best thing about making Dreamer? Did you know anything about horses or know how to ride them?
Dakota: No, I didn't know anything about horses. I learned for the movie. I have my own horse now. His name is Goldie, named after Goldie Hawn. Kurt [Russell, her co-star in Dreamer] gave him to me.
What did you love about Cale, your character in Dreamer? How did you relate to her?
Dakota: I think we're the same and very different in ways. I don't live on a farm, and that's something that I really wanted to do. I got to portray farm life with the horses and learn what she knew about horses. My character is really determined that she is going to learn about horses and ride horses. She is determined to do what she feels strongly about. I think I'm like her in some ways, but most of all, I always try to make the best of a situation even when everything is looking really bad. Even when it's looking bad for her family, she's always like, "It's going to be fine."
What do you want people to know about the movie?
Dakota: It's such a happy film. It's sweet, happy, heartwarming, and sad at the same time. You feel such different emotions throughout the whole film.
We heard you painted the horse's toenails
Dakota: Yes. All pink. I painted their toenails and had pink brushes and pink saddle pads and pink everything.
What was challenging about making this movie?
Dakota: I'd never been around horses at all, so getting comfortable with them was fun, challenging, and exciting at the same time. I trained for eight weeks and then two weeks in Kentucky. I would ride them and walk them and take care of them and do everything you can think of.
You've been pretty busy. Do you think ahead to teen and adult roles?
Dakota: I never really feel like I'm busy. I know I am, but it's so much fun for me and I never get bored with it. I don't really think ahead. I try to think of what I'm doing at the moment but I definitely want to act in the future.
What do you love most about acting?
Dakota: The fact that you get to be different people. You get to pretend different things and go to different places where you might not otherwise get to go.
Do you remember the first time you saw yourself on the big screen? What was the film?
Dakota: I Am Sam. My nose was like six feet long and my head was really big. It was so surreal and exciting and I couldn't believe that I was actually watching myself. Sometimes I would forget and then I would realize again.
What advice would you give kids who want to act?
Dakota: If you really want to do it and you feel strongly about it, just go for it.
Interview by Gerri Miller
(Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP Wide World)
Dreamer opens in theaters nationwide.
June 23, 2006
Dakota will play Fern in the big-screen adaptation of Charlotte's Web, which opens in theaters today.
Full Name: Hannah Dakota Fanning
Birth Date: February 23, 1994
Birthplace: Conyers, Georgia
Sibling: younger sister named Elle
Pet: a Palomino horse named Goldie
Pastimes: horseback riding, swimming, and playing piano
Actors: Hilary Swank and Jodie Foster
Musician: Gwen Stefani
School Subject: history
Books: the Harry Potter series
Ice Cream Flavors: chocolate-chip cookie dough or chocolate-chip Oreo mint
Can't Live Without: her little green bear named Mr. Green