Remember a few years back, when Dakota Fanning was the precocious child star stealing all our hearts? Well, while Dakota has grown up, staring us down as an evil vampire in The Twilight Saga and appearing in smaller films like Night Moves, it’s pretty clear to see that her younger sister Elle has dethroned her in the hearts and minds of the general public.
Since breaking out with Somewhere and Super 8, younger Fanning hasn’t slowed down one bit, appearing in feel-good crowd-pleaser We Bought a Zoo, indie drama Ginger & Rosa, dystopian romance Young Ones and, most impressively, fairy-tale blockbuster Maleficent. Now, Fanning’s ready to finally prove herself as a lead actress, with news that she’s landed the lead role in How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
An adaptation of the short story of the same name by The Graveyard Book and Coraline author Neil Gaiman, How to Talk to Girls at Parties centers on two boys named Vic and Enn who go to a party in 1970s London to look for girls. While Vic has no trouble pulling a girl immediately, Enn is left alone and tries to make conversations with the girls at the party, only to slowly realize that none of them are what they seem. The text of the original story can be read here, but the film adaptation seems to be taking some liberties.
As penned by Philippa Goslett and Rabbit Hole helmer John Cameron Mitchell (who is also directing How to Talk to Girls at Parties), the movie is more of a “two-hander love story focusing on a schoolboy and punk who uses music and art as a way to escape and a female alien tourist (Fanning) who wants to escape her tour group and explore the most dangerous place in the galaxy, the London suburb of Croydon,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
I’m not sure about that pretty massive change from Gaiman’s novel, but hopefully as long as his influence can still be felt in the finished script, How to Meet Girls at Parties will do right by its intriguing, unsettling source material. After all, the acclaimed author is on board as a producer, so he’ll have some control over the adaptation. And Fanning is a terrific young actress, so her casting certainly bodes well for the film. We’ll keep you posted as the supporting cast is filled out.