Kicking off an impressive career in front of the camera at the tender age of five, it was a mere three years later that actress Dakota Fanning would become the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Screen Actor's Guild Award for her role in the Sean Penn drama I Am Sam. She subsequently appeared in such efforts as Sweet Home Alabama (2002) and director Steven Spielberg's sci-fi miniseries Taken.
A Conyers, GA, native whose acting abilities became apparent when, at the age of three, she acted out the entire process of pregnancy and childbirth (with her younger sister Elle substituting for the newborn baby) to her amused parents. Advised by an agent to take their daughter to Los Angeles, it wasn't long before young Fanning was cast in a commercial for Tide detergent. Television appearances in ER and Ally McBeal were quick to follow, and in 2001 she made her feature debut in the comedy Tomcats. Though the film was only seen by an unlucky few, her role in the same year's I Am Sam was a wide release that found the adorable young starlet a solid fan base.
Later alternating between television and film with features such as Trapped and roles on such high-profile series as Spin City and Malcolm in the Middle, her part opposite Brittany Murphy in the 2003 comedy Uptown Girls found the precocious youngster playing well off of her older co-star. In 2003 Fanning could be spotted in The Cat in the Hat, and it wasn't long before she was gearing up to appear alongside Denzel Washington and Christopher Walken in the Tony Scott thriller Man on Fire.
As the 2000's continued to unfold, Fanning appeared in a number of films, like Hide and Seek, War of the Worlds, and The Secret Life of Bees. By the time the actress was 16, she was playing legendary girl-band member Cherie Currie in The Runaways, setting the stage for adult roles to comes.