Dakota Fanning Is Bound For A Meltdown

Actress is set to play a young woman gone mad with a rare autoimmune disease.

By Kat Rosenfield

Unlike many child stars, Dakota Fanning has reached adulthood — and made the transition to more grownup roles — without the sort of public meltdown that so often plagues her peers. But now, it’s finally happening! Dakota Fanning is going to lose her damn mind.

For a role, that is. Obviously.

Deadline reports that Fanning will star in a film adaptation of Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, “Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness,” which details the author’s terrifying descent into insanity as her mind was unrecognizably twisted by a rare form of encephalitis.

Fanning will play Cahalan, who was 24 years old when her life was unexpectedly turned upside-down by a disease that prompted her body’s immune system to begin attacking her brain — first manifesting in the form of a sudden, violent seizure, then turning her into a paranoid, delusional, violently unstable shadow of her former self.

After a month, which Cahalan spent hospitalized, doctors diagnosed her with the rare autoimmune disease, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The author, who had no memory of her institutionalization, reconstructed her experience for “Brain On Fire” by reviewing hospital security footage and interviewing her friends, family, and doctors.

There’s no official date set for production on the film to begin, but with Fanning wrapping her work on another film — an untitled project with Gerardo Naranjo about the on-tour adventures of a 1980s punk band — we can guess that the actress will be ready to dig deep and go crazy before the end of 2014.