Dakota Fanning Returns To Movies In M. Night Shyamalan’s Next Project

Dakota Fanning will star in The Watchers which is produced by M. Night Shyamalan.

By Phillip Moyer | Published

dakota fanning

Dakota Fanning, who got her start in Hollywood as a child actress in films like the Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer drama I am Sam and the Denzel Washington crime drama Man on Fire, managed to become fairly well-known for her acting abilities, possessing a surprisingly deep range for such a young actress. However, like many performers who started in their childhood, Fanning fell off the radar once she got older. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, she’s been given a starring role in the upcoming film The Watchers, meaning she might make her way back into the limelight.

Dakota Fanning will be playing the role of Mina, a young artist trapped alongside three strangers in the middle of an Irish forest. She and the strangers find themselves being stalked by unknown creatures in the woods.

The Watchers is directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan, the daughter of Old and Signs director M. Night Shyamalan (who is producing the film). Ishana, who is also writing the film, is not exactly a novice in the industry as she’s written and directed multiple episodes of the Apple TV+ series Servant and has directed two short films — Paradise and Natural Selection. However, the Dakota Fanning-led film will be the first feature film she has ever directed.

While this will be the biggest role that Dakota Fanning has had in some time, she’s still been active in the film industry. Recently, she’s starred in the musical Viena and the Fantomes, which was released to video on demand in 2020. She also had a minor role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 2019, along with the digitally-released film Sweetness in the Belly.

Dakota Fanning has also been appearing in TV series such as the Showtime show The First Lady, the HBO Max animated series Gen:Lock, and the Netflix series The Alienist. She has had major roles in all three series, appearing in every episode of each series.

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Dakota Fanning and Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 3

Dakota Fanning’s Hollywood fame began to decline shortly after appearing in The Twilight Saga. She played the role of Jane, a 1000-year-old vampire who was turned when she was a young girl, and never aged since then. Her character appeared in three Twilight films: New MoonEclipse, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

While The Twilight Saga was enormously successful, Breaking Dawn Part 2 was the last major film that Dakota Fanning appeared in for quite some time. She continued appearing in movies, but they tended to be independently produced, many of which never made it into theaters. Those that did, such as the 2015 film The Benefactor and the 2016 film Brimstone, mostly flew under the radar, with both films making just $2.1 million each at the box office. 

Assuming Dakota Fanning hasn’t mysteriously lost her superb acting ability, she’s bound to put forth a stellar performance in The Watchers. Whether or not the film itself will match up to Fanning’s talents, and whether crowds will be interested in seeing a former child star in a film by M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter, both remain to be seen.