Dakota Fanning Pushes the Limits

The adorable Dakota Fanning is growing up. The go-to child star has made her move into bona fide teenage roles — and she’s more than ready to go beyond her usual sweet and innocent side in the sci-fi thriller Push. She swears, has a brief drunk scene and carries a gun.

This kid you play in Push is pretty out front and in your face, isn’t she?
My character is a true 14-year-old — kind of rebellious. She has a very sassy attitude and that was very fun to get to explore in this film. She says and does things that I never would.

Sounds like we’d better get used to seeing you displaying a new persona in movies.
I can no longer do Lucy in I Am Sam. You have to grow up and I am doing it through films. Most people haven’t seen me maybe as grown up as they will in Push. But eventually I’m probably going to play the person that you hate. I think that’s the fun part about acting.

In Coraline, you go back to being a kid again — with a character who wants things she can’t have. I guess you don’t have that yearning because it seems like you have it all.
I’m very lucky, and I try not to wish for things that I don’t have. I think you should be grateful for what you do have.

There must be something.
I guess it would the simple things. I’ve always had curly hair and I wanted straight hair — the way it looks today, thanks to the hairdresser. But who knows, maybe if I’d been born with straight hair, I’d want my hair to be curly.

Coraline is a collector. Are you?
I collect dolls and I’ve been doing it my whole life. I just love them. Coraline doesn’t collect girly things. I think she’s a bit more tomboyish than I am. When I was a kid I used to imagine those dolls were my children and I’d act out little stories with them. I think that’s when I realized that maybe I could be an actor.

There’s a rumor you’re going to play a vampire in the next Twilight.
It’s definitely being discussed but it’s not set in stone. It would be really cool to be a part of Twilight if it works out. I’m a big fan. I saw the first movie but I haven’t read all of the books yet, I’m working on it. I would be a vampire, which could really prove that I can be sweet, little Dakota Fanning and then I can be something different on the screen.

You’ve worked with so many famous actors. Have you ever been starstruck?
I remember when I was very little my idol was Britney Spears. I had just come to California and that’s just who I wanted to meet. So I was in a store and she walked in and my jaw just fell to the floor. I started like sweating. I could not believe that I was meeting her. She told me that I was very cute. And I lost it — I was so excited.

What’s it like to be a teenager?
I think when you’re younger, you can’t ever imagine that one day you’re going to be 15 years old. And finally I’m going to be 15 in three weeks. And it feels so normal.

This article has been edited for girlsspeakgeek.com. The complete story appeared in Parade Feb.2009.

February 24, 2009 | Interview | this post contains affiliate links