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Those Fanning Girls
by Pat Frickey

Dakota and Elle  Fanning might seem like frivolous fashionistas appearing frequently and wowing  critics at red carpet events. They are the press’s darlings, blonde celebrities  who regularly answer the clamoring reporters’ question, who are you wearing. However Dakota (22) and Elle (18) are much  more than that. Each had starring roles in this year’s Hamburg Film Festival.  Dakota plays the beloved and disturbed Merry in Ewan McGregor’s AMERICAN  PASTORAL. She embodies the rebellious, radicalized daughter who turns against  her parents during the Vietnam War. Elle stars as Ray in ABOUT RAY (Alle Farben  des Lebens). She brilliantly plays a  transgender teenager hoping to begin hormone treatment to start transitioning  into a boy. Not once does this feminine fashion plate slip up as her very  masculine alter ego.

Born in Conyers,  Georgia, the sisters later moved to California with their parents when older  sister Dakota’s career took off. Neither of their parents are actors as might  be expected, but both had been professional athletes. Dakota began her career  starring in a Tide commercial at the age of five. At seven she was the youngest  person ever to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in I Am Sam. She has been in more than  forty films and appeared in twelve television series. Younger sister Elle has  been in almost as many films and series, including the role of Princess Aurora  in Maleficent.

Dakota and Elle  Fanning didn’t appear on the red carpet in Hamburg this year, but their time  may come. Someday they may triumph at the Hamburg Film Festival not just as It  Girls, but as accomplished actors.