At the age of 14, Dakota Fanning is already one of Hollywood's most bankable young actors, thanks to roles in blockbusters such as "War of the Worlds" and "Charlotte's Web." However, her starring role in "Push," the upcoming, comics-inspired thriller about government-trained psychics on the run from a shadowy agency, offers up a decidedly more mature part for the teen to play.
In an interview with MTV, "Push" director Paul McGuigan said he had few doubts about Fanning's talent and her ability to play Cassie Holmes, a snarky, teenage "watcher" who can glimpse images of the future. In fact, McGuigan told MTV, he insisted on working with the actress.
"When I read the movie, the character that stood out was her character," said McGuigan. "I said to everyone, I can't do this movie unless Dakota Fanning's going to do it, because to me she was perfect for the role."
McGuigan, whose previous films include the flashy thrillers "Lucky Number Sleven" and "Wicker Park," caught on to Fanning's potential early on.
"I saw her in movies that were kind of homely movies and quite sweet films, but I knew when I met her that she had a bit of an edge to her, and I went for that," said McGuigan.
The director added that he was particularly impressed by the actress' chemistry with co-star Chris Evans, who plays the telekinetic "pusher" Nick Gant.
"Her relationship with Chris is a really beautiful relationship," said McGuigan, "and it really grows on you."
The director said he's confident that Fanning's performance in "Push" will draw in audiences, and change their perception of her as an actress.
"She comes to this movie as a teenager rather than a little kid," reasoned McGuigan, "and I think that's what people will be interested in."
For more on the film, check out our exclusive images from "Push" and interview with director Paul McGuigan here on Splash Page.
Do you think Dakota Fanning can carry a science fiction film? Does she have what it takes to become a serious actress? Let us know what you think.