The next day

Yesterday I wrote about “Taken”. By far the best performance in this mini-series was given by then eight year old Dakota Fanning. Her preternatural presence towered over all the other performances. I suspect Spielberg might have green-lighted this project precisely because he knew that for about a year or two he would have the perfect actor to play the pivotal child role in his epic fantasy.

“Taken” is a multigenerational saga. Actors playing characters we first see as children are then swapped out to play their young adult selves. Aging make-up is then gradually applied as they grow old, even as new generations of actors/characters appear. After watching a few episodes, you come to expect people to age dramatically, practically before your eyes, from one episode to the next.

I remember thinking last night, as I started to watch the ninth of ten episodes, that of course the mini-series would need to end soon, because Spielberg knew it would be impossible to find an adult actress who could match Fanning’s immense charisma and sense of presence.

Which is why I was taken aback today, as I took the elevator up to my office at NYU, to see Dakota Fanning riding in the elevator with me. Not the eight year old Dakota Fanning of 2002, but the seventeen year old version of today. Turns out she’s a student at NYU, where she takes courses in our building, just a few floors below our lab.

For just a moment I found myself in Spielberg’s world. “Of course she’s almost ten years older,” was my first thought. “It’s the next day.”

2 thoughts on “The next day”

  1. Great story! So, did you tell her that you’d just been watching “Taken”? Or did you play the cool NYU professor who is used to running into starlets in the elevators? 😉

  2. No, I think I did the cooler thing. I just let her be an NYU student, which is clearly what she’s here for, by pretending I didn’t know who she was.

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