When child star and avid Twilight fan Dakota Fanning signed on to play on of the dreaded Volturi in New Moon, the second film in the blockbuster vampire franchise, she knew what she was looking forward to most: Wearing those creepy red contact lenses.

“I was really excited about that,” the 15-year-old says. “It makes anyone look automatically kind of evil.”

For newcomers, the colour of the eyes of Twilight vampires denote what kind of blood they feed on — golden for animal blood, red for human. Scary as they are, though, they couldn’t be terribly comfortable, right?

“You get used to it after awhile,” Fanning says. “You can see pretty good, but it’s still kind of weird.”

Fanning’s vampire, Jane, is one of the most feared in the four-book series by Stephenie Meyer. She is an angelic-looking young lady with the power to cause people intense pain just by glancing at them.

“It was fun to get to play a kind of feared character, something different from what I’ve done before,” Fanning admits. “She uses her power not for good, which was another thing that was kind of interesting to me.”

The idea of having some kind of special ability piqued Fanning’s interest as well.

“If I could have any power, it would be to read people’s thoughts,” she admits.

Of course, joining a franchise already in progress can be tough, especially when it’s something as successful as the Twilight series.

“With a cast that already knew each other really well, you always are kind of the new kid coming in,” Fanning says. “But they were just so nice and so welcoming and just a really great cast. So it was hard to be starstruck, even though you’re such big fans of them and excited to meet them. But they’re just so nice and you become friends pretty quick.”

She particularly became friends with series star Kristen Stewart, which was convenient since the two young actresses would end up spending much of the last year together, co-starring in New Moon and Eclipse as well as the upcoming Runaways, about the all-girl punk band where Joan Jett got her start.

“It was really great making Runaways with her after New Moon,” Fanning says.

“We became really good friends and really close throughout all the experiences we’ve had this year. I couldn’t ask for a better person to do three movies in a row with than her.”

Having been acting since a tender age, Fanning has been trying to get as much of a normal adolescence as possible — and she was recently crowned homecoming princess at her L.A.-area high school. “I’m a junior, so you can’t be the queen,” she explains.

“I think it’s really great to have that balance,” Fanning says.

“I was lucky that I was able to go to a school that lets me leave.”

But she as successful as she’s been at balancing her two worlds, she doesn’t necessarily have a lot advice for other young actors.

“I don’t know if there’s a how-to guide to how I balance it,” she admits. “It’s just kind of happened.”

• New Moon hits theatres next week

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