By Rick Bentley
LOS ANGELES — Dakota Fanning, at 15, has more credits than most of the young stars of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” combined. But that didn’t stop the young actress from agreeing to take on what is little more than a cameo in the new film.
What lured Fanning to the project was the chance to play the much-feared Jane — a member of the vampire group Volturi who has the power to make a person feel pain by using her mind.
Fanning says she read the four books in the “Twilight” series in less than a week and agreed to do the role because she likes the books and because it’s the first time she’s been able to play an evil role.
“I was certainly a big fan, and just to be a little part of it was a big deal to me,” Fanning says. “I wanted to be a part of this and this was the only way. So, it didn’t matter about the size of the role.”
Fanning is in the key demographic audience for the books and films. She says the series is so appealing because it is a fairy-tale, love-at-first-sight story.
As for being one of the film’s villains, Fanning says the Volturi don’t think they are bad. It’s just that, she smiles and adds, Jane doesn’t always use her special powers for good.
One of the benefits of being in “New Moon” is the role gives her a chance to play a young woman. Whether it has been movies such as “War of the Worlds” or “I Am Sam,” or the cable miniseries “Taken,” Fanning usually plays young girls.
“New Moon,” and her role as Cherie Currie in the upcoming film “The Runaways,” could be the acting bridge that takes her to more mature parts.
She may be ready to play older roles, but in many ways, Fanning is still very young. There’s a note of disappointment in her voice when she talks about how she could not be homecoming queen at her high school because that honor is reserved for seniors.
College is in her future, but she has no idea what she wants to study.
Fanning’s biggest obsession is baby names. She’s intrigued by the names parents pick, possibly the result of being named Dakota. At 4, Fanning started picking out names for when she has her own children. She continues to update the list.
Acting, like picking scripts, is instinctual for Fanning. She doesn’t spend a lot of time creating a history for the characters she plays. She just steps in front of the camera, does what feels right, and then moves on to the next scene or project.
That’s resulted in a diversity of roles, from the animated “Coraline” to the comic-book-inspired “Push.”
“Those are just the parts that have appealed to me,” Fanning says. “It has worked out to be very diverse. I really like that and I hope it continues.”