Elle Fanning got her start in the movie business playing younger versions of her sister, Dakota, in films like I Am Sam and Taken, so it’s at least understandable that some people mistake one for the other. Like Kyle Chandler, for instance, who mistakenly told Men’s Journal in a cover story your wife will treasure that his co-star in Super 8 is Dakota Fanning. Though Dakota (far left) is four years older than Elle (near left), they’re both tall and blond, and since movies live forever, it can be baffling to tell one from the other on screen unless you’ve already read the credits.
For the record, Elle is the Fanning in Super 8, as well as the scene-stealer in last year’s Somewhere, Sofia Coppola’s story of a disillusioned Hollywood actor (Stephen Dorff) who re-examines his life after a visit from his daughter. Dakota is the recent high school graduate who dazzled opposite Sean Penn (I Am Sam), Denzel Washington (Man on Fire), and Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds), and now has a role in the Twilight films.
As brilliant as Elle’s performance is in Super 8, I fear it’s only going to warp people’s ability to differentiate the two sisters. Though she’s only 13 years old, her character has had to grow up fast in a broken home. She’s not just Dakota’s little sister anymore.
Have you been flustered by the Fannings? I’ve fumbled only once, to be honest: Deja Vu, ironically. I’ll let you guess if it was Elle or Dakota that co-starred opposite Denzel in the time it takes you to check on IMDb.com.