Fanning: Working with McGregor a 'privilege'
Dakota Fanning takes on a mature, dark role in American Pastoral
Dakota Fanning's latest role in the new movie American Pastoral is a complicated one in which she plays a radicalised young woman in the Vietnam era who is accused of committing a horrific crime, thus shattering the perfect life that her parents have built.
It is the forte of this young 22-year-old actress, who started her career when she was seven, to play troubled characters with an emotional maturity far beyond her years, drawing comparisons to a young Jodie Foster.
How did you get into the mind of this character?
What I would keep focused on is that she believes in her beliefs the way that I know that my hair is blonde and my eyes are blue. It's a fact to her. This is her truth, and she lives it and breathes it.
It's important as an actor to not judge the character that you're playing because you have to try and find some level of understanding. I think I understand her as much as one can (laughs).
What was Ewan (McGregor) like as a director?
It's such a privilege for me to be a part of his first time directing. We felt very safe and supported by him. Being an actor himself, an important thing for him was that we rehearsed alone at the beginning of the day, just him and the actors. He asked you to push yourself to a certain point and I think he really wanted us to feel comfortable to do that, and he absolutely made me feel that way. I so enjoyed just getting to know him as a friend as well.
Do you see any parallels with your character and the young people today who are recruited to fight for terrorists?
I think that in talking about this film, a lot of people have been drawing some parallels to the world that we live in today, how it might not be as different as it seems and how history repeats itself.
If it can further a conversation to change the world that we're living in now in a positive way, or help someone to see something clearer, then I think that would be a positive thing.
Can you reflect on your career and your penchant for playing dark characters?
I'm still a young person, but it's been most of my life that I have been doing this. I think because I started out so young, it was important to everyone around me that I enjoyed myself and had fun even though it may be hard work at times.
This (film) is on the darker side - more intense and more emotional - but I've found that that's when I feel my most fulfilled and it becomes a more rewarding experience when you feel like you've taken yourself to a place and you're able to come back from it. I'm able to sort of just switch on and off, which I'm grateful for (laughs).
What are you working on now?
I live in New York City and I still attend New York University. I'm coming up on my last year.
What are you studying?
The portrayal of women in film.
Are you in a dorm?
No, I live in an apartment by myself. Living in New York, it's really made me the person that I am. It's made me very independent. It can be a tough and lonely place to live in, and I think if you can sort of survive that and overcome that, that's kind of an accomplishment. I feel like I have done that and so that's what I love most about my life.
Are you able to live like a non-celebrity?
Going to university, I've been able to do it pretty much just like everyone else. I think that for a moment people notice me and then they move on because they're there for their learning. So I've been able to blend in.
What is your relationship like with your sister Elle?
We've always been very close, but we were at different stages in our lives for a little bit of time, and now that doesn't matter. I'm so happy to still have a close relationship with her and so proud of her accomplishments. If there's any other person in the world that I would want wonderful things to happen to, it is my sister.
Do you share career advice?
You know, we really don't. We really don't talk about our careers that much. We just never have. It just doesn't come up. I think that works better for us. She doesn't need any advice from me. We talk about it if it happens to come up, and if not, that's fine too. - Meher Tatna