Keep Doing It 'as Long as You Love It' (Exclusive): Dakota Fanning Shares Advice for Child Actors

Dakota Fanning is speaking from experience as she gives tips for the next generation of child stars

Published Time: 03.06.2024 - 06:31:09 Modified Time: 03.06.2024 - 06:31:09

Dakota Fanning is speaking from experience as she gives tips for the next generation of child stars.

On Sunday, June 2, the actress attended the New York City premiere of The Watchers, her creepy new thriller set deep in the forests of Ireland.

In front of the camera since she was 5 years old, Fanning, now 30, tells PEOPLE her sage advice for young actors making their start.

"As long as you love it, you're in the right place," she says. "Sometimes you're working in a cold, wet forest, and if you can still have fun there, then you're on the right track."

In The Watchers, Fanning plays Mina, an artist and pet shop worker whose car breaks down, stranding her in the ominous woods. She finds refuge in a glass house of sorts with three strangers — who get watched by mysterious creatures after sundown.

The film, based on the 2021 novel by A.M. Shine, is the feature directorial debut of Ishana Night Shyamalan, the 24-year-old daughter of Oscar-nominated director M. Night Shyamalan.

Fanning, who has spent her career working with filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Tony Scott and more, says she saw "no difference" collaborating with newcomer Ishana.

"She's such a cool person, and a person I'm happy is a friend now. She's full of so much energy and life and creativity," says Fanning. "She had such a vision for what she wanted to do and was also open to collaboration with everyone. Also adaptable at the -

same time as being very specific."

Fanning adds, "I saw so many qualities in her that are very comforting in a director."

Ishana says she grew up a fan of the actress, whom she calls a "sort of omnipresent being in our generation" on screen.

"I was blown away by working with her," says the director, who also wrote the screenplay. "She's one of those actresses that only comes from truth and always makes decisions that are real to her, and that adds such a depth and texture to the movie."

Fanning's costars in The Watchers echo the praise. "It was really fun watching her work," says Georgina Campbell, the British star also known for Barbarian. "She's very intelligent. It was great working with her."

Oliver Finnegan says Fanning is "incredibly focused." He adds, "She's been doing it for such a long time, so she's a pro. Just to try to figure out how she does it was cool to be around."

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Fellow cast member Olwen Fouéré says they all "got on really well." Fanning is "fantastic" and a "great person to have on set," says Fouéré: "She's very focused — no messing around."

The Watchers is in theaters June 7.

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