Despite Working With Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning Revealed Commercials Rejected Her For One Reason While Growing Up


Even though Dakota Fanning had the skills to collaborate with Tom Cruise, her path in the world of ads wasn’t any simpler.

In the early 2000s, there was a lot of buzz surrounding superstar Tom Cruise and critically acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s collaboration on War of the Worlds. In the science-fiction thriller, Cruise played Ray Ferrier, a man who battles to keep his family alive when an alien invasion puts humanity’s future in jeopardy.

War of the Worlds was a huge commercial success, grossing $603.9 million at the box office. Considering the pedigree of Cruise and Spielberg, not many were surprised by its success, but what left plenty of viewers stunned was the brilliant performance of 10-year-old Dakota Fanning, who didn’t look out of place in front of the camera alongside Cruise. However, her talents didn’t always get the results they deserved.

Why Commercials Rejected Tom Cruise’ Co-star Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning’s mother was encouraged to take her five-year-old daughter to Atlanta for an audition by her local theater teacher in Georgia, which is how she got her start in show business.

At seven years old, Fanning was prepared for Hollywood’s big screen, making her film debut in Sean Penn’s I Am Sam. Sam Dawson, played by Penn, is a special needs father who battles for custody of his daughter Lucy (Fanning). Following that, her sophisticated eloquence earned her significant roles in Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds and Denzel Washington’s Man on Fire.

Despite her brilliant performances, it wasn’t always obvious for casting directors to spot her talents, leading to rejection in several auditions, including a few where she was deemed not ideal because of her appearance. But despite her young age, she knew how to deal with such situations. Speaking to The Guardian, Fanning revealed:

“I was always able to decipher what mattered from what didn’t. I would go on so many commercial auditions and I would hardly ever get them, because they would always pick the girl with the really long hair. I had short hair and was different looking. And I would say, ‘You know, they probably just really wanted someone with brown hair, or longer hair.’ And my mum would say, ‘You’re probably right.’”


Whether it was handling rejection, pressure, or her trepidation about costarring with a superstar, Fanning weathered the nasty side of the business with ease. She went on to say that the only time she had ever really freaked out at a celebrity was when she saw Britney Spears, who she described as “God.”

How Tom Cruise Is Still in Touch With Dakota Fanning

The now 29-year-old, who recently landed her biggest part on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, hasn’t experienced the same level of success as an adult, but her relationships with some of her co-stars seem to be stronger than ever. Specifically, since that partnership, Cruise has been giving his co-star from War of the Worlds a birthday present. During her visit on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, she disclosed:
“He has sent me a birthday gift every year since I was 11 years old, I always think, ‘Oh, when I’m 18, he’ll probably stop. Oh, 21, he’ll stop.’ But every year. It’s really kind.”

When asked what was the last gift the Mission: Impossible star gave, Fanning revealed that it’s usually shoes. Fair to say, Cruise certainly knows how to win hearts, on and off the screen.