You're officially old: Dakota Fanning is playing pregnant women now. In "The Benefactor" the onetime child star, now 21, stars as young Olivia, who reconnects with the wealthy but troubled man (Richard Gere) who was responsible for the accidental death of her parents (Cheryl Hines and Dylan Baker).
“The stomach was weighted, so you felt some semblance of what it feels like to have something that’s not normal on your body,” Fanning tells us. “But if I said in an interview that I totally know what it’s like to be pregnant now, they would say, ‘No, you don’t,’ and they would be right. I have no idea. I was strapping it on and taking it off every day, so it’s not the same.”
She says she didn’t do a ton of research into that aspect of her performance, but then, she’s often admitted she’s not a stickler for prep work. Kelly Reichardt, her director on “Night Moves,” once said she sent a package of research papers to her before the film, which she ignored.
“It’s not that I don’t prepare; I just prepare in my own way,” she says. “I’m not someone who thinks about what the life was for the character before the script starts. I use my own imagination and daydream. It’s different for everybody. Some people can only do it one way, and this is the way that works for me.” (She also admits she did read some of what Reichardt sent her.)
Fanning has been doing a string of indies of late, including "The Last of Robin Hood," "Very Good Girls" and "Effie." But this career move hasn’t been on purpose.
“I’ve never planned anything. It’s always been on a case-by-case basis,” she says of her career. She’ll happily do a big budget film, long as she likes the role and the people. “I’m not a snob. I don’t really know how to do anything else.”