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Premieres & Events

NYC Premiere: Charlotte's Web

Dakota Fanning at Sunday's NYC premiere of Charlotte's Web (Photo: STV)

The Reeler made a rare Sunday visit to Chelsea this past weekend to check out the Charlotte's Web premiere, where star Dakota Fanning, director Gary Winick and voice talent Andre Benjamin and Cedric the Entertainer made appearances to introduce the film to New York. Benjamin and Cedric each made early press line exits, leaving me a little extra time with Fanning -- with whom I had last spoken at this very theater two summers ago for the premiere of her previous girl-and-her-animal interlude, Dreamer.

"I'm sure there's one I haven't worked with," Fanning said when asked about her interspecial co-stars. "Hopefully someday. I think for now I'm a little animal-ed out, though -- I've worked with so many. But I did have a really good time."

As I've noted before, Fanning is about 12 going on 35 -- preternaturally well-spoken and worldly, as self-assured a leading lady as virtually any others I've chatted with over the last 18 months of covering this beat. Her precociousness was rumored to have possibly gotten ahead of her earlier this year when it was reported that her character in the upcoming film Hounddog (or, as officially noted in the current Sundance Film Festival lineup, The Untitled Dakota Fanning Project) is sexually abused; an abiding controversy erupted that Fanning blew off at Sunday's premiere.

"I don't think that anybody should be talking about it yet because nobody's seen it yet, you know?" she said cheerfully. "It's a wonderful film, and I'm really proud to be in it. I can't wait for people to see it."

I asked her if the film and its content are as tough as people have described it. Fanning lowered her chin, looked straight at me and shook her head.

"No," she said, then laughed. "No, it's not. It's really a beautiful film and it's great to be a part of it. That was all blown out of proportion, so... It's great."

OK, then. That should stem the stand-by line at its Sundance screenings, which Fanning said she does plan to attend. "I've never been before," she told me. "I'm super excited; I've never been skiing or anything. I don't know if I'll have time, but if I have a chance, I'd love to try. I hear it's really hard though." She wobbled, grimaced and mimed squaring herself on invisible ski poles. It was too adorable to bear, really.

Anyway, best of Park City luck to Fanning, who seems well-positioned to be history's youngest indie It Girl. Meanwhile, another of New York's indie movers and shakers, Gary Winick, told The Reeler that straddling the line between studio fare like Charlotte's Web and 13 Going on 30 and the microbudget films underwritten by his InDigEnt shingle isn't as hard as one might think.

"Soderbergh does it, Linklater does it -- I'm following good people," he said. "I have these stories I wanna tell, and they're usually human stories. So if that inspires a big movie or a small movie, I just am passionate about telling it. And hopefully I do a good job so I can work again."

The connections don't hurt either. "What it does is it gives me a little bit of stature and access to people I wouldn't normally be able to have," Winick said. "And when you approach them, they're just so glad to actually do something small. It's kind of neat."
To wit: Winick's potential follow-up project with Fanning, a small Southern family comedy tentatively titled Taking Sides. In the interim, Winick, too, is headed to Sundance as the producer of Andrew Wagner's Starting Out in the Evening. Wagner wrote about the film on The Reeler last August, but check back here in January for more with Winick and Wagner as our annual NYC @ Sundance coverage ramps up.

In the meantime: Charlotte's Web opens nationally Dec. 15. -- S.T. VanAirsdale

Posted at December 4, 2006 10:48 AM

Comments (8)

Funny how I heard someone say Dakota was obnoxious...

She seems to be such a sweet kid, especially with you S.T.

As someone who knows Dakota a little bit I can tell you that she is a very sweet and humble kid. She is very unlike a lot of the characters she plays in films... someone whom a lot us could learn a lot from in regards to having a positive attitude and being kind to others.

Interesting article. Glad for the info on the possible new film, too. I'm going to have to try to get to Sundance this year.

Dakota is so sweet!!
I cant wait till Hounddog comes out,Ill be the girl in the front!!
Her little sister Elle is adorable as well!!
Bye!! Amanda-Lee age 14

Dakota is awesome!

I have personally met Dakota and she is totally unprococious and is just a sweet, nice kid. She really is so normal. I spoke to her and met her at the Charlotte's Web Wolrd Premiere this year [2006] and she was so kind to everyone and me. She is so NORMAL you wouldn't believe! -Anthea, 14

is that moviw out yet

Charlotte's Web has been out for a while now. They should leave Dakota alone about Hounddog. She's a smart girl, she's not stupid... if she didn't think the role was right she would've refused!

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