Haley Bennett Biography Filmography Sexy Photos

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When The Magnificent Seven hit theatres last month, much of the movie-going public got a good look at Haley Bennett for the first time. When Girl on the Train opens in theatres this week they’ll get an even better look, and the prediction is that the reaction will be “Looks good. Looks really good.” It’s been a fairly long and bumpy road to this point, but the small town girl has definitely hit the big time.

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Though Haley was born in Fort Meyers, Florida on January 7, 1988, she was just a toddler when she moved with her father and older siblings to Ohio. For the record, her Mom still lives in Florida but the rest of her family never left Ohio. The family moved all around that state, to mostly rural locations and small towns where she got her primary education – and learned to hunt and shoot with her Dad.

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Haley has been practicing since she was ten years old, as far as acting goes. She was in the cast of just about every play performed in the various schools she attended in Ohio, and just after graduating from high school in 2006, she did what about a million kids before her have done:  moved to Los Angeles, following what was in her case a rather ephemeral dream.

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Haley told Interview Magazine that she didn’t have any specific goals; she knew that small parts in school plays weren’t enough to get her recognized and chose an acting school from the Yellow Pages hoping to overcome an extreme case of stage fright.  She told one interviewer, “I was so terrified before an audience that I would break out in these ugly red hives, and my lips would quiver at the sight of a word or a song.”

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Something worked, obviously. In 2007, after only a few months she had impressed her acting coach enough to be introduced to agents, one of them got her to audition for a film called Music and Lyrics – and the door was open, if only part-way. She played Cora Corman, a ditzy young pop star (and yes, she sang) and her co-stars were Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.  Not a bad intro for a total unknown, and Haley still rhapsodizes about working with those two leading lights.

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Music and Lyrics was part of a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. so in 2008 Haley appeared in two more films, neither of which got much notice one way or the other. College featured Haley as one of three party girl co-eds and she doesn’t talk about it much. The other film, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, starred Haley as a teenager caught up in a deal with the Devil, and it wasn’t a really good deal for Haley, either. Both films bombed with the critics, but provided more of the experience she was determined to acquire.

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Also in 2008, Haley had a bit part in Marley and Me, starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson and a yellow Labrador named Marley who basically stole the whole show. In 2009 she starred in a short film directed by Shekhar Kapur called Passage, which got positive critical reviews but little notice from the public. From there she moved on to star in The Hole, another fantastical horror story, but this one received good reviews from both critics and audiences.

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Just to make sure there would be plenty of diversity in her resume, or because she was still in the ‘finding myself’ process (which according to Haley will continue indefinitely) in 2010 she joined the cast of Kaboom, a film directed by Gregg Araki that reportedly won the very first Queer Palm ever awarded, for its “contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues” at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Next up was Arcadia Lost, in which she starred with Nick Nolte and Carter Jenkins; the cast and crew got a rare and wonderful chance to tour some of the most untrammeled spots in Greece, but the movie didn’t make it at the box office.  That was in 2010, and then there’s a gap in the record where Haley did a lot of almost-got-it auditions; she says that too often even if a casting director said he wanted her, the lack of a bankable name lost her a lot of roles she’d yearned for. It was not until 2014 that she starred in yet another horror movie, as the heroine Justine in Kristy.

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Kristy didn’t make huge headlines either, but Haley got a lot of great reviews for her part; one critic remarked that she made her character “. . .  as real as anyone could hope for. A lesser actor wouldn’t be able to make the performance both entertaining and believable.” That statement seems to apply to most if not all of her subsequent roles, and is borne out in her next project, an independent film called Lost in the White City. Her performance was considered “standout” by critics, though the film did not get much recognition as it was “. . . aimed at a more open-minded audience.”

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Also in 2014, which was quite a busy year for Haley, she had a minor role in Things People Do, which got positive critical reviews but never played to a wide audience. She also got on board in a film by Terrence Malick and Warren Beatty that has just now been completed; she considers both Malick and Beatty to be ‘mentors’ and we can expect more from that quarter.

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Her next break, though not a huge role, was in The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua, which starred Denzel Washington as the man with a mysterious and violent past who means to put it all behind him until he’s confronted with injustice that he’s compelled to rectify. Haley says her role as what she calls “a Russian woman in the face of adversity” was a big change for her, but her capacity for getting into the role no matter what it may be is increasingly obvious to those who watch.

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Amongst other projects in 2015, Haley starred in a Russian/American heavy duty sci-fi/action thriller called Hardcore Henry; that film was better received in Russia than in other areas, but kudos went to the actress in her role as one of the bad guys. By this time Haley’s name had become more familiar, especially to those in the business of finding the right actor/actress for a particular role. The one that ultimately pushed Haley into the limelight is a classic example.

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When Haley auditioned for the role of Emma Cullen, the single woman in a cast of high-profile male actors (The Magnificent Seven) she jokingly claims what clinched her selection was the pie she baked and brought to the final tryout. She got no special treatment from director Antoine Fuqua, who says that he saw her potential before casting her in The Equalizer.

attends the 'Kaboom' Photo Call held at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual International Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2010 in Cannes, France.

Fuqua stated that Haley Bennett exemplified the qualities he wanted in his female lead. He says she was fully capable of portraying a woman with no lack of feminine qualities along with a plentiful supply of tough. Her line in the movie when a fellow townsman asks her how come she was the one who got the disparate group of gunslingers together to save the town: “Because I’m the only one who had the balls to do it.” And so she did.  And they did. Good ole Western, updated.

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And on she goes, with Girl on the Train coming to theatres this week (October 7). Haley co-stars with Emily Blunt and Luke Evans; she’s Megan Hipwell, the vision that Emily as Rachel Watson keeps seeing from her commuter’s seat on the train. Rachel creates a fantasy around Megan and her husband Scott, who appear to have an idyllic life – but then Rachel is caught up in the real life of Megan and Scott, which is nothing like the fantasy.

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Haley has a great story about her casting for the role of Megan:  she read the novel by Paula Hawkins while she was filming The Magnificent Seven and loved it, then only week’s later director Tate Taylor asked her to audition for Girl on the Train. Haley says when she went to meet him he let her ride a four-wheeler around in the woods on his property. At one point she was stuck on a hill with no way to go but full speed ahead and straight down.  She said, “I think that’s when he decided he was going to hire me.”

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So full speed ahead is about par for the course, but as opposed to straight down it looks like Haley is heading full speed in the opposite direction. She has two more big projects in the works; one in Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, which is due out November 23. She co-stars with Beatty, Candace Bergen, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and others in an audacious film about the Hollywood of the 1950s and Howard Hughes, to whom the rules really didn’t apply.

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Far as Haley is concerned, they do apply when it comes to hard work, perseverance and dedication to what she hopes will be a long career as an actress. Considering the state of current affairs, that seems a very likely proposition and her rapidly-growing multitude of fans will be cheering her on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Magnificent Seven loads of action not much character Review Trailer

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The only surprising thing about The Magnificent Seven is the fact that it took this long for someone to finally decide to do a remake. After all, superhero films seem to be getting a reboot every decade, but it took Antoine Fuqua to re-envisage this classic film to. Of course, it is a lot more intimidating to redo a film that is a cult classic in itself.

Denzel Washington stars in Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

The original film came out in 1960 and was its-self a remake of the “Seven Samurai” directed by Akira Kurosawa. This time John Sturges was at the wheel and he put together an all-star cast that shared a great chemistry and excellent bravado. Of course, the fact that Elmer Bernstein wrote the iconic score certainly did not harm anything.

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This time around Furque does not quite capture the same high spirit as Sturges, but he does manage to add in a lot more shoot-em-up action scenes with close ups on the shots, bodies, and plenty of gunfire. The score originally written by Bernstein gets a few references, but it is left to play during the end credits so it’s up to the cast to really make the audience want to sit through two hours-plus.

Chris Pratt and director Antoine Fuqua on the set of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

The good news is the cast is made up of seven magnificent actors so watching the film is not too rough at all. Denzel Washington leads the rag tag team of cowboys with assistance from Chris Pratt. Haley Bennett is his love interest who begs him to come save the town from the greedy industrialist who is played with quite a bit of flare and fun by Peter Sarsgaard.

(l to r) Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio and Martin Sensmeier in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

(l to r) Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio and Martin Sensmeier

In an effort to drive Sarsgaard’s character out of town Washington enlists a crowd of helpers who  end up including Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Manual Garcia- Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier.  The only problem is that the characters lack a proper back story and sometimes it seems like the one is tone is a bit off. It skirts all over the place making it hard for the audience to know what exactly to think.

Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

In the end the action scene during the final showdown brings the film to a close, but even then outside of the action scenes it seems the movie is still missing the heart that it had in its original telling.

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington Denzel Washington
Chris Pratt Chris Pratt
Ethan Hawke Ethan Hawke
Vincent D'Onofrio Vincent D’Onofrio
Byung-hun Lee Byung-hun Lee
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Martin Sensmeier Martin Sensmeier
Haley Bennett Haley Bennett
Emma Cullen
Peter Sarsgaard Peter Sarsgaard
Luke Grimes Luke Grimes
Teddy Q
Matt Bomer Matt Bomer
Matthew Cullen

Matt Bomer Biography Filmography

Matt Bomer, Magnificent 7 Filmography Biography, Photos

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We all know that actors and actresses are often judged on and applauded for their sex appeal as much or more than for their ability to portray ‘real people’, with all the gamut of emotions that real people exhibit. We all know this sort of judgment isn’t fair but we do it anyway, or most of us do. How satisfying when someone comes along who makes it easy for us – someone with powerful sex appeal and a huge talent to go with it. It’s fair to say that Matt Bomer is one of those.

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At this point that last statement will be news to most people; Bomer hasn’t gained a huge reputation and his name isn’t usually first in the credits listings. In fact it’s interesting that all but one of the awards he’s won or been nominated for are for supporting roles – and this could be a major clue in putting together a description of his career so far, and his appeal to fans of all descriptions.

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Matt Bomer was born in Webster Groves, Missouri but the family moved to Spring (a suburb of Houston), Texas by the time he started school and that’s where he spent his growing-up years through high school. Matt’s father, John O’Neill 1V, was a draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys; we don’t know much about his Mom, Elizabeth aka Sissi, only that she must have been supportive of Matt’s early interest in acting.

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His first thespian experience was in Houston’s non-profit Alley Theater, while he was still in high school, and he went straight from there to the Carnegie Mellon University (of drama) in Pittsburgh, PA. Graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree he went straight on to New York, reportedly working in several minor stage roles until he ‘joined the soaps’.

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Matt got a part in two episodes of All My Children in 1970; that role got him into a much longer gig with Guiding Light, a long-term and well-loved soap opera in which his character, Ben Reade, was one of the major players. Ben was a ‘disturbed’ young man who gained a whole lot of fans along the way – even though he turned out to be a murderer he endeared himself to the hearts of the GL audience. The episode where he strips down to white briefs has been cherished by countless fans – and was probably the first time mass audiences got a good look at his way-better-than-average body.
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Matt’s next move was to a Fox TV supernatural series called Tru Calling in which he played the love interest of a psychic named Tru Davies, a med student in financial straits who takes a job in a morgue and discovers that she has strange powers of changing or preventing events such as murder and suicide.

Luc (Matt) was her photographer boyfriend in 14 episodes during the series’ first season, then he was killed, script-wise, in 2004.

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Following that death, he went on to various small roles, appearing briefly in another soap, North Shore and in 2005 a film with Jodie Foster called Flight Plan in which he was a (gorgeous) flight attendant. Next, in 2006 he had a starring role along with Jordana Brewster and R. Lee Ermey in a total reversal of roles, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. This was a prequel to the original 2003 Massacre and it got only mediocre reviews; most every cast member got dismembered anyway.

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In 2007 Matt had a starring role in what would be a short-lived TV series called Traveler. During an interview after that show he made the comment that he had nothing against any particular media, just hoped that writers and producers would “. . . continue to work on projects that kind of challenge artists and hopefully affect people in a positive way.” That quote could be a motif of sorts for his choice of roles in the years since then.

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Also in 2007, “spy guy” became Matt’s new moniker when he took on the role of Bryce Larkin in another TV series, this time NBC’s Chuck; that one ran for five seasons with the Bryce character getting killed off not once but twice. There’s still a possibility for another resurrection, if the show’s producers should come up with further story ideas for the comedy/drama of CIA agents, a mysterious and sinister computer program called Interface and scads of nefarious undercover activities.  Bomer came away from that with an even larger fan base, plus some training in martial arts.

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Now we come to the stage where Matt’s career took a notable turn upward; with his starring role in White Collar as a charismatic and talented con artist named Neal Caffrey opposite co-star Tim DeKay as Peter Burke, a hard-working FBI agent. The series ran on USA Network from 2009 to the end of 2014 and was nominated for several major awards, with Matt nominated for several of his own and winning that of 2015 Favorite TV Character Actor based on his performance as Neal.
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White Collar got 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes through its entire run, and Matt Bomer was voted TV’s Sexiest Man in 2011 by entertainment website BuddyTV Somewhat ironically it was also in 2011 that Matt got married to Simon Hall, and it was during a 2012 award ceremony for Matt’s work in the campaign against HIV/AIDS that he first announced to the public that he is gay and in a long-term relationship that includes three surrogate children. That information came as little surprise to many, but definitely disappointed a lot of adoring female fans.

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Again, not too surprisingly it didn’t seem to faze anybody as far as his acting career goes; he has told interviewers that it’s a great relief to “. . . live with integrity and not have some strange split psychology . . .” of being one person in public and another at home. He said it wasn’t really by choice that he played ‘straight’ roles for ten years, and is very grateful for the far greater tolerance that prevails in the current day and age.

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Back to 2011 to fill in some gaps:  Matt co-starred with Cheyenne Jackson (of 30 Rock) at the NYC Eugene O’Neill Theatre presentation of 8, Dustin Lance Black’s play about two of the central litigants in the Proposition 8 trial regarding California’s attempt to ban gay marriage.  He was also featured as Henry Hamilton, a 105-year-old man, in a sci-fi thriller called In Time. The film got mixed and rather ho-hum reviews; Matt’s character Henry Hamilton dies nobly early on, having given his ‘life time’ to a young man (Justin Timberlake as Will.)

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From comments made in various interviews, Matt’s 2012 role as stripper Ken in Magic Mike was a bit of a break-through; his comedic talent as well as his superb physique made the role a cinch – even though he said, “It was like a stripper boot camp. We embarrassed ourselves in our own rehearsal room.” But, he continued, the group “manned up together to get it done,” Matt didn’t know at the time that he would be returning to ‘boot camp’ as a seasoned pro, in the 2015 sequel, Magic Mike XXL.

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Before that, however, Matt had a supporting role in Space Station 76 (2014) and a small part in Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of Mike Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale, also released in 2014. Neither film made box office news, but as Matt says, it’s not all about money; doing good work is what’s important and he always tried to do his best work whatever the role or the situation.

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For his role as Felix Turner in The Normal Heart, Matt lost about 40 pounds – and as he says, gained an immense respect for the people who tried to deal with and publicize the tragedy of  AIDS to the gay community, which was mostly not ‘out’, and to the government. The critically acclaimed HBO movie was powerfully moving for most of its viewers; Matt said that he read the play as a confused teenager and it changed his entire world view. He won a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for that performance.

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It’s hard to keep track . . . but we note that starting in 2014, Matt has been appearing in the highly rated TV drama/horror series American Horror Story. He was a male prostitute named Andy who got killed off in Season 1, and a major character named Donovan throughout Season V. As of now the rumor is that he’ll be showing up in Season 6 but no details have yet been released.

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The Nice Guys, released in May this year, gave Matt a chance to show some different colors, as he says, and admitted that it was fun playing the bad guy and doing his own stunts, with co-stars Russell Crowe and Bryan Gosling. He said “. . . anytime you get a chance to play a cold-blooded, borderline robotic assassin who comes in the visage of John Boy from The Waltons . . . that’s gotta be funny.” He thinks it was, and so do his cohorts in the film.

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As yet another in his list of diverse roles, Matt’s latest is to reach theatres this weekend (September 23rd) with a comparative lack of fanfare. A remake of the classic Western, this one directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film has Matt in a supporting role as The Magnificent Seven ride again. The movie will also feature Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio and Haley Bennett, along with (in this case) bad guy Peter Sarsgaard.

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From minor supporting actor to star to minor supporting actor to co-star . . . Matt Bomer has swooped and soared. We will see him next, according to all reports, as the iconic actor Montgomery Clift in an HBO biopic now in production. Monty Clift is an honorarium to the actor’s life and death; it will include his rise to stardom and his deterioration in what his acting teacher called “… the longest suicide in Hollywood history.”

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Matt says he feels a certain kinship with Clift, and has since he first saw the actor onscreen and thought he “looked just like my brother”.  The two bear a remarkable resemblance physically, but whereas Clift’s sexual preferences had to be kept secret, which undoubtedly contributed to his failing mental and physical health, Matt’s have been accepted – and even if not, he’s up to the challenge, and we say hooray.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe House review trailer

Most people have had the experience of taking the General Education class at the behest of a friend who assured an easy A, only to get there and find out that this time the teacher has something to prove about general ed. being taken lightly.

Generally speaking, Safe House is that class in an action movie. The story is the basic blow up stuff fodder that has come to be expected; only this one is out to be respected for its brain when its asset is brawn.

Taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, the story is about low-level CIA operative Matt Weston, who is assigned guard-duty for ex-CIA agent Tobin Frost who got ousted for running amuck. Things go awry, however, when the safe house they inhabit is attacked by gunmen inexplicably intent on capturing Frost (Denzel Washington).

Safe House review trailer

Safe House review trailer

Agent and knave escape the safe house, only to be chased incessantly by the bad guys, but as the story unfolds, young Weston (Ryan Reynolds) must rely on instinct to decide whether to trust those in charge or to believe a cunning Frost.

So far, the story is engaging; Washington and Reynolds mesh well, as Washington excels in a familiar villain role, outwitting a young operative, and Reynolds does a fine job as the noble and confused agent trying to do the right thing.

Safe House review trailer

Safe House review trailer

Clarity is lost in the storyline when two home-office CIA agents are introduced as communicators with Weston, who wind up cluttering what’s going on by not having much to do.

Although Reynolds and Washington do a fine job, the script and flow hinder their performances, making the movie stilted and choppy.

In all, the movie was much too complex for what it had to accomplish. It would have been much more enjoyable without a supporting cast edging for face time.

 

Dakota Fanning Biography

Dakota Fanning Bio

Dakota Fanning Bio

It’s really amazing: if you go looking for Dakota Fanning on the internet, it seems half the videos of her show a happily beaming smile with a large gap in front. You’d think she spent half her childhood missing her front teeth – but she never stopped smiling. The teeth are all grown in now, and the smile is just as entrancing, though no longer what you’d call childish.

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Dakota Fanning Bio

In fact Dakota turned 20 just this month (February 23), and she has come a very long way from Conyers, Georgia where she was born, though she says she’s still a Georgia girl at heart. By the age of five Dakota knew she wanted to be an actress, and she had attained that status in the world of film and television before she turned six, having whetted her appetite performing in a local children’s theatre playhouse.

When she auditioned and won a spot in a national ad for Tide detergent, the family (parents, both former athletes, and younger sister Elle) moved to Los Angeles; Dakota has lived there for most of her life so far, and says she loves it (but her roots are in Georgia, of course.) It must have been tempting to cast her as a Shirley Temple type, but that would have been a mistake. She has been compellingly convincing as a young vampire and a young victim of rape, amongst many other challenging roles.dakota-fanning biography

Dakota’s first dramatic role was in an episode on the TV series ‘ER’ in which she played a child on life support for leukemia. It’s always been one of her favourite roles, she says – lying around during shooting with tubes in her nose. However she hasn’t done much more lying around; rather she has had major and minor roles in more TV shows and films than many with decades of experience.

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elle-dakota-fanning-

Her role as the daughter of a mentally challenged man (Sean Penn) as he fights the establishment for custody in I Am Sam brought her into the critical limelight and won her the Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor, making Dakota the youngest actress ever to receive that kudos.

Still a gap-toothed child, before she was ten years old the bouncy blonde Dakota took on and shone in roles opposite big name stars such as Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise. Hollywood publications liked to call her “America’s little sister” even after her movie Hounddog, in which (as a 12-year-old) she was utterly convincing in ‘the rape scene’.

Dakota Fanning Biography

Dakota Fanning Biography

Other notable performances have included major roles in several highly praised films; Man on Fire, opposite Denzel Washington in 2004, in 2005 Hide and Seek with Robert De Niro, and as the wide-eyed daughter of Earth’s defender (Tom Cruise) in Steven Spielberg’s remake of War of the Worlds.

Sexy Dakota Fanning

Sexy Dakota Fanning

Dakota received the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film (with Dreamer) and prompted her co-actor Kurt Russell to remark that she was the best actress he’d ever worked with.

In 2006, Dakota acted her age in Charlotte’s Web and won the Kids Choice Award as their Favorite Female Movie Star, pretty much consolidating her appeal to an entire movie-going public. However she went right on to act her age again in Hounddog, as a 12-year old victim of rape – which brought on a lot of controversy. Her response was on the lines of ‘this kind of thing happens to real people and shouldn’t be glossed over or ignored.

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning

The prolific and clearly versatile actress has credits in so many different films that it’s hard to keep up, but a short list of her best known films includes adult dramas such as the sci-fi thriller Push, The Secret Life of Bees, The Runaways and The Twilight Saga: New Moon amongst others. She seems to switch back and forth from roles in which she plays a girl her own age and those suitable for ‘girls’ much older; simply put, her acting ability is more than sufficient to allow dramatic changes in persona with equal believability.

Dakota Fanning life so far

Dakota Fanning life so far

The same Hollywood reporters who called her ‘little sister’ raised virtual eyebrows when Dakota made the scene (partially) nude in Very Good Girls. The film is about two high school graduates who vow to lose their virginity right away, and Dakota turned 18 “just in time” to be allowed the exposure. Again she refers to the scene(s) as being quite true to real life, and we certainly can’t argue with that.

Now that Dakota Fanning is past her teens, it looks as though the cinematic world is her oyster. A girl who can make you believe she’s a hooker or a saint with no discernible effort is definitely worth watching.

The Runaways