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This year’s film “Please Stand By” in which Dakota Fanning plays an autistic young writer named Wendy who has written a Star Wars related screenplay and wants nothing more than to go and live with her sister, was discussed at the United Nations on April 5. Dakota Fanning explained her interest in bringing to the screen characters and conditions not sufficiently seen. While some have criticized the film for having a lead actor who is not, in fact, autistic, writer Michael Golamco says they hired as many autistic actors as possible to appear in the movie.
The occasion was a session at the UN called “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism,” co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the UN of Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland. Speaking on the panel from the film, beyond Fanning and Golamco, were producer Lara Alameddine and director Ben Lewis.
The UN Department of Public Information’s engagements with films have included Wonder Woman and Angry Birds; Thursday’s quieter approach for many worked better. The UN itself explains tat “throughout its history, the United Nations family has celebrated diversity and promoted the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, including learning differences and developmental disabilities. In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all. Its purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It is a vital tool to foster an inclusive and caring society for all and to ensure that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
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At age 6, Dakota Fanning was very likely one of the only kids on the block playing with a medical neck brace and plastic nasal tubes. Actually, she was one of two. The other was her younger sister, Elle.
Such were the perks of landing her first significant acting job: a guest role in a Season 6 episode of NBC’s long-running medical drama “ER.” In it, the then pipsqueak-actress played a car accident victim who has leukemia.
“My best memory from doing that was all of the medical stuff that they gave me,” Fanning said when she stopped by The Times’ video studio recently. “They gave me the neck brace. They gave me the tubes, the breathing tubes. They gave me fake syringes, gauze. All this stuff. My sister and I played with those fake medical props for so many years to come, I can’t even tell you.”
Fanning would, of course, go on to join the club of young actors who have quickly earned veteran status. Her film work, which includes “I Am Sam,” “Man on Fire” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” has earned her the most notoriety. But recently the actress got reacquainted with the small screen with a starring role in the TNT limited series “The Alienist.”
The 10-episode drama, which will air its finale on Monday, is the end point in the winding road Caleb Carr’s bestselling novel traveled to get made. The story revolves around a serial killer on the loose in Gilded Age New York. Fanning plays Sarah Howard, who is part of the dubious team trying to solve the case. The character is the secretary to Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt and the first woman hired by the New York Police Department, determined to become the first female police detective at a time when that was inconceivable.
“I would describe Sarah Howard as someone who is really pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable for a woman in 1896,” Fanning said. “Even the title of ‘secretary to police commissioner’ kind of annoys her a bit. … She’s pushing the boundaries of society. She’s not married. She’s not looking to be married. Doesn’t have any children. Not looking to have any children at this time. And that was really unusual. She’s facing looks from her peers in her social circles and, of course, looks from her male peers in the workplace.”
The series took Fanning to Budapest, where production took place over seven months. She chose to stay at an apartment in that time, likening the search to being on “House Hunters: International.”
“I was a little nervous,” Fanning said. “Doing a film is not usually a seven-month commitment. I haven’t been away from home for that long in a long time. So that was the thing I was most nervous for … I kind of left my life behind and jumped right in and I didn’t want to leave, in the end. I cried hysterically.” [Source]
Out of Character
A consummate film actor since the age of 7, Dakota Fanning is ready to shake things up as she takes on the small screen and makes her directorial debut
On a snowy day in Manhattan, Dakota Fanning is huddled over a cup of mint tea, diplomatically weighing the pros and cons of living in New York City. Predicated by her acceptance to New York University, Fanning found an apartment in a prewar building in Nolita and has been based here for the past six years.
One of the pros is that the city has given her a newfound sense of freedom. “This is the only place I’ve ever lived by myself,” she explains. Evidence of her willingness to try new things is on practically every street corner thanks to billboards promoting TNT’s The Alienist, Fanning’s first major television series. “I just heard three people scream my name as I was walking here. I’m like, ‘Oh, f—! What did I do?’ But they were just saying ‘hey,’ so I said ‘hey’ back. I was like, ‘It’s gotta be because of those billboards.’ ”
Based on the Caleb Carr novel set in 1890s New York, the 10-episode psychological thriller (co-starring Daniel Brühl and Luke Evans) sounded almost too good to be true. Fanning had just come off promoting American Pastoral, so the timing was perfect. The only hang-up was that it meant moving to Budapest, Hungary, for the better part of 2017 to film the show. “I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s so far and such a long time to leave your life,’ ” she says. “Movies are made in eight weeks, you know?”
She decided to think of it as doing a semester abroad and, in the end, wholeheartedly embraced her Hungarian sojourn—the spa culture, “family” dinners with the cast and hosting out-of-town friends. During the workweek, Fanning (who is notoriously prompt for everything) would arrive on set to be laced into an old-fashioned corset. Her character, Sara Howard, is a strong-willed young woman who stands up to sexual harassment as the first female employee at the New York City Police Department. “As we were filming, we were like, ‘God, didn’t we read an article that’s kind of about this, like, yesterday?’ ” she says. “I think that it does go to show how history repeats itself. To move forward, you have to do something different because it’s been this long and these situations are still happening.”
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Dakota Fanning attends the Valentino show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2018/2019 on March 4, 2018 in Paris. I have added some photos to the gallery.
A new portrait of Dakota Fanning have been added to the gallery. Please, credit this site if you take the photos.
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