Dakota Fanning Horror Movie To Start Shooting During The Strike

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

Dakota Fanning

As a general rule, the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike means that no actors are allowed to take part in filming new movies and TV shows. However, SAG-AFTRA does reserve the right to grant waivers to the strike, allowing actors to appear on the set of approved productions. According to Deadline, one film to receive such a waiver is Ishana Night Shyamalan’s The Watchers, which will feature former child actress Dakota Fanning in its starring role.

Ishana Night Shyamalan’s The Watchers starring Dakota Fanning, was granted a SAG-AFTRA waiver to start filming.

The reason that the Dakota Fanning film can continue filming has to do with the specific grievances that the guild has. Specifically, SAG-AFTRA is upset with the actions of distributors, who are in large part responsible for the ever-shrinking residuals that actors are receiving during the streaming age. 

The Watchers is in a unique position. Technically, it doesn’t have a distributor yet. The Dakota Fanning fantasy horror is part while New Line has agreed to purchase the film, no formal distribution deal has been signed.

With no signed deal in place, The Watchers is technically an independent movie with no direct involvement from the distributors that SAG-AFTRA is protesting against. So long as no deal is signed before the labor dispute is resolved, Dakota Fanning and her co-stars Georgia Campbell, Olwen Fouéré, and Kya Brame will be able to work as usual without attracting the wrath of the guild’s 160,000 members. 

Dakota Fanning marvel
Dakota Fanning in The First Lady

Dakota Fanning most recently starred in The First Lady on Showtime as Susan Ford.

This is great news for Dakota Fanning since The Watchers is the first starring role in a major film that she has landed in a long time. While the 29-year-old actress has remained active in Hollywood for her entire life, she has mostly been relegated to supporting roles, or appearing in low-budget movies that mostly fly under the radar. 

While it’s not guaranteed that The Watchers will be a hit, it has enough of a pedigree to justify viewing it differently from Dakota Fanning’s more recent theatrically-released films such as Please Stand By (2017) and Brimstone (2016). Produced by Old and Knock at the Cabin director M. Night Shyamalan and directed by his daughter, The Watchers might not be the product of Hollywood’s biggest names, but it’s still being made by people who have some pull in the industry. Assuming that New Line does end up distributing the film, it’ll almost certainly end up on more theater screens than Fanning’s other movies. 

Dakota Fanning is in good company with toher stars granted waivers, including Dove Cameron, Paul Rudd, and Jenna Ortega.

Dakota Fanning is not the only actress who has been granted a waiver to perform in an upcoming film during the strike. Yellowstone and Fargo actress Kelsey Asbille will also be able to perform since SAG-AFTRA has granted a waiver for the Sam Raimi-produced horror film Don’t Move. Dove Cameron will be allowed to perform in the thriller Isaac, and both Holland Roden and Daphne Gaines will be allowed to act in the horror film Mother May I?

These are likely not going to be the only films that SAG-AFTRA grants a waiver to as the strike goes on. In fact, if the strike lasts a long time, it’s possible that more independently-produced films made while all the big-budget productions grind to a halt.