Comic Con 2008: ‘Push’ Q&A with Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning is all grown up. It’s like when you don’t see your little nephew for a year and suddenly he’s six feet tall with muscles and a deep voice.  Fanning is 14 now, and those little girl roles are all behind her. Comic Con reveals her first action heroine role in Push, which casts Fanning as a teen with psychic powers, pursued by the government. Her director, Paul McGuigan, tells us she even gets drunk and swears in the movie. Yes, the little girl is indeed all grown up. What’s the deal with the drinking scene in Push?

Dakota Fanning:

OK, here’s the deal with that. In this movie, my mom is also a Watcher. She’s, like, the best Watcher that they’d ever seen, that could see the future. And she’s famous for drinking alcohol when she needs to, in a crunch, when she needs to see everything more clearly. It’s like a last resort, kind of. So Cassie is going through that. She was in a last resort to see the future as clear as she can, and she has to drink.

HW: Was it freeing to be able to do grown-up scenes like that?


Yeah, you know what I mean? I had never done that before so it definitely was, but, you know, I really identify with the character. She was desperate, and she had to do something to do her power to the full effect. This movie’s different than anything I’ve ever done before, and I feel really lucky to be a part of it. I like that it’s an action movie, but it also has a story, and there’s characters that have relationships with each other, and they’re all very significant.

HW: Did you get the sense that it’s time, that you have to start growing into more adult roles?


You know, I don’t really do it intentionally. I think as you get older, the roles that you can do are limited, and also expand at the same time. So I don’t really try to make conscious decisions about it. I just try and let it happen naturally. As I get to certain ages, some things are right, and some things are not. I’ve been lucky to find the right thing, I feel.

HW: Do you expect your fans to be a little resistant?


I mean, that’s inevitable, because the first time everybody saw me was when I was six and I was in I Am Sam. Now I’m 14. I think it’s inevitable but I am getting older, I am growing up and I can’t do anything about that. I have to do what I feel is right for me, and grow as an actress to me. I have to do that no matter what, if I want to continue, and I definitely do.

HW: What do you think of all these people walking around Comic Con in costumes?


I love Halloween. I’m already thinking about what I’m gonna be! I’ve got to plan. OK, my sister and I, she just filmed The Nutcracker. So we decided we’re gonna be The Nutcracker. Not the actual The Nutcracker, but we’re gonna be, like, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and be in full ballerina. And then her best friend is gonna be the Rat King. And then one of my best friends is gonna be the Nutcracker. And we all go together. And we’re gonna be like, the whole Nutcracker Brigade. And it’s gonna be great. I’ve got to think about it.

HW: Going from Stephen Spielberg’s War of the Worlds to a smaller budget, is it sort of a shock?


You know, I didn’t really notice that so much. I mean, when I was in War of the Worlds, it was about as grand and as big as you can imagine and it was amazing. But still, doing Push, I didn’t really feel so much of a difference. It still felt like a big-action movie because the stunts and the actual sequences, it was not low budget. It didn’t feel like that at all. So I didn’t really feel that. I know that it wasn’t as big of a budget, obviously, but still, I think that it got the same result, as far as the stunts and the action go.

HW: What are you doing next?


I have The Secret Life of Bees coming out in October. I play Lily, the main character in the book and it was so much fun. I got to work with Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Paul Bettany, Nate Parker, Tristan Wilde. So it was totally like a switch of gears from this film, then going to do The Secret Life of Bees. The characters were totally different, the people were totally different, the setting was totally different.