Happy 18th Birthday, Dakota Fanning! Watch Her Age Through 10 of Her Movies

Does anyone else feel old now that Dakota Fanning is 18? Well, happy birthday anyway, Dakota! Let's see how you've aged over the years, shall we?
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Happy 18th Birthday, Dakota Fanning! Watch Her Age Through 10 of Her Movies

Does anyone else feel old now that Dakota Fanning is 18? Well, happy birthday anyway, Dakota! Let’s see how you’ve aged over the years, shall we?

-Lucia Peters

Dakota Fanning

You guys! Dakota Fanning is 18 today! That is CRAZY! No longer the petite little blonde thing we’ve all come to know and love, the actress can now buy cigarettes, porn, and lottery tickets. I wonder what she’s going to do with her newfound powers of adulthood? Happy birthday, Dakota!

Anyway, because little Dakota turning 18 makes us feel old, let’s go back and time and see how Dakota has grown through the years. Growing up on screen can be either a blessing or a curse, but in Dakota’s case, we’re pretty sure it leans on the “blessing” side of things. Ready to hop in our time machine with us? Here we go!

1. I Am Sam (2001). Age: 7

I Am Sam

Though Dakota had enjoyed some success in a Tide commercial and on television shows like ER, it was her performance as Lucy Diamond, the daughter of Sean Penn’s developmentally disabled Sam Dawson in I Am Sam, that got her on the map. She was nominated for a number of awards that year, include the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. She is, by the way, the youngest person ever to be nominated for a SAG Award. Bonus fun fact: Dakota’s little sister Elle played the (even) younger version of Lucy. Elle was three at the time.

2. Taken (2002). Age: 8

Taken

Dakota’s next role of note was that of Allie Keys in the 2002 sci-fi miniseries Taken. Aliens abound, and little Dakota earned a couple of more award nominations (Young Artist and Saturn, for the curious). Elle played the younger version of her character—again!

Read A Lesson in Oscar Etiquette with Kevin Kline and Mike Myers

3. The Cat in the Hat (2003). Age: 9

The Cat in the Hat

Though this is probably one of the films that Dakota likes to forget she ever made (because it’s TERRIBLE), it does represent her first foray into the world of movies for kids. Perhaps it’s because this one was so bad that she’s kept those types of projects down to a minimum: She has since provided voices for a couple of animated films, including the wonderful 2009 stop-motion animation film Coraline, and she played Fern in 2006’s Charlotte’s Web… but that’s about it. We can’t really blame her, if this is the type of fare she was offered.

4. Man On Fire (2004). Age: 10

Man on Fire

Denzel Washington? Christopher Walken? Mickey Rourke? Talk about hitting the big time! When Dakota was 10, she played wealthy businessman Samuel Ramos’ (Marc Anthony) daughter Lupita, known as Pita, who subsequently gets guarded by Denzel, then kidnapped by the baddies. All in a day’s work.

5. Hide and Seek (2005). Age: 10

Hide and Seek

By this point, we had all gotten used to seeing Dakota as this cute, precocious, wholesome little blonde thing. Naturally, at some point she would choose to flip that image on its head—which is exactly what happened in Hide and Seek. She was still precocious as grieving widower Robert DeNiro’s daughter Emily… but she was also brunette, difficult, and slightly trashy. AND she was still only 10 years old at the time. Versatile? Um, yes.

See more of Dakota through the years, including Hounddog and The Runaways, up next!


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0 thoughts on “Happy 18th Birthday, Dakota Fanning! Watch Her Age Through 10 of Her Movies

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