Dakota Fanning chats about her new sci-fi pic “Push” and her possible role in the upcoming “Twilight” sequel “New Moon”.
As the wide-eyed, blonde-haired child star of countless hit movies, 14-year-old Dakota Fanning’s past co-stars include Tom Cruise, Charlize Theron, Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington. Born in Georgia, she was a child prodigy, learning to read when she was just two years old, she made her film debut, aged six, opposite Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer in I Am Sam.
Her latest role is in the sci-fi movie ‘Push’, in one scene Dakota appears staggeringly, fall-down drunk, although she insists that’s only for the camera. And don’t expect this good Christian girl to follow in the footsteps of former child stars Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, having recently pledged before her mother and agent, that she won’t have a teenage pregnancy or get any tattoos or piercings – at least until she turns 18! Dubbed ‘The Million Dollar Baby’, Dakota talks about psychic powers, drinking, boyfriends and growing up famous.
Q: Have you always wanted to be an actress?
DF: Yes, ever since I was a little girl I’d play mom and my little sister would play my daughter, just playing around at home. But I wanted to do it for real rather than just around the house. When I was 5 and a half my mom took me to this playhouse where you study this play and do the play at the end of the week. They thought I should go to an agency. I got a couple of commercials then they said that we should go to pilot season in California. So I turned 6 and I went to California where I got some more commercials and TV shows and then I got I Am Sam.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a normal kid?
DF: Yes, I’m a normal kid who loves to act. I don’t think of it as work because I love it so much. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Q: Child stars are notoriously brats, although no-one says that about you?
DF: I don’t think I’m a brat. (Laughs) I just love what I do.
Q: This is your first action hero role, and also more of a grown-up role. Was it tough to adjust?
DF: I just thought of my character, like she always has a comment for everything and a comeback for everything, I thought that would be really fun to play and very different from what I’d done. And then I went from this movie to The Secret Life Of Bees, which was like totally different, so it’s just an example of how I get to be all kinds of different people.
Q: Was it fun filming in Hong Kong, thousands of miles from home?
DF: Yeah, I was excited, I loved it. I had such a good time. It was fun being somewhere so far away from home where it’s just so different and I really liked that it was kind of like a culture shock, but in a good way.
Q: And you hurt yourself on the set of Push, filming an action sequence where you slide in water as a giant fish tank bursts? Were you hospitalized?
DF: No, I mean, it was just a little scrape. In that fish market scene, I’m not acting where you see me actually grab my arm.
Q: Did you learn any Chinese while filming in Hong Kong?
DF: That’s the first foreign country that I’ve been in that I’ve never learned any of the language, just something. When I filmed in Mexico, I learned Spanish and now I speak Spanish – not all the way, but you go somewhere and you pick up things.
Q: Did you eat anything strange, like snake or dog?
DF: We stuck to sushi at Nobu in our hotel! And Pizza Express!
Q: Did anyone recognize you in Hong Kong?
DF: No-one really recognized me there at all.
Q: Is that refreshing for you?
DF: Yeah, I mean, I got recognized a few times, but I get recognized more here [in Los Angeles] than I did when I was there, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know if it would be a lot or not at all, but it was kind of in the middle [as far as being recognized].
Q: You play a girl with special psychic powers in Push. Any psychic experiences yourself?
DF: I’ve definitely experienced deja vu before. I think we all do. You always have those moments where you’re thinking about someone, and then you see them on the street. But this movie definitely takes it to the next level with those powers.
Q: Would you like the ability to see into the future?
DF: I don’t think I’d want the power I have in the movie, because I know how stressful it was for my character to see the future and want to change it and to try and figure out how to do that, I think that would bother me.
Q: Is it easy to shake off the disturbing characters you play when you get home?
DF: I become the character when they say action and when they say cut, it’s over. I think it might come from doing this since I was so young.
Q: In one scene, you’re seen staggering, fall-down drunk. You were very convincing! Was there a “drunk trainer” on the set?!
DF: No there wasn’t, I . . .
Q: So you didn’t drink on set?!
DF: I didn’t, no, I didn’t even know what I was going to do until the minute I did it.
Q: Your sister Elle, 10, also works in films, she recently appearing in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Does this mean your family can’t always travel with you to movie sets?
DF: My mom was with me the whole time [in Hong Kong] and my dad came to visit. My mom is my best friend and my whole life. And while I was filming this movie, my sister was in Budapest with my grandmother filming The Nutcracker. So my dad was home alone for a few months!
Q: Is it true you’re signed up to play a vampire in New Moon, the sequel to blockbuster bloodsucker movie Twilight?
DF: Possibly, I hope it works out. It would be really cool to be a part of that. I think the actors are amazing and I’m a big fan.
Q: What role would you play?
DF: I think it would be Jane. She’s a vampire in the film.
Q: How do you stay grounded with all your success?
DF: I think most people think that kids in the business are brats. But you don’t have to be a brat to be an actress. I just enjoy it so much that there’s no time to do anything like that. And why would I want to, when I’m enjoying myself? My family and friends keep me grounded.
Q: Do you still get allowance from your parents?
DF: I’ve never gotten one. I don’t even think about that ever.
Q: Do you get to keep the money you make?
DF: It’s put aside for me. I don’t even think about it.
Q: Are you curious to talk with other former child actresses and hear their experience?
DF: Yeah sure. I mean it’s so different now than it was then but I would love to talk to Jodie Foster about anything!
Q: Are you looking to do more grown-up roles now?
DF: Yeah, I mean there are so many wonderful stories, I think it just depends on what’s right for the time and what I’ve done before, I always want to do something different, and continue to grow as an actor so as you get older there’s so many more roles that you can do and that’s exciting.
“Push” is at Irish Cinemas everywhere now