Secret Life of Bees: Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson

Dakota Fanning (top) and Jennifer Hudson / Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

Listen to the Intimate Conversation with Ella Curry and the Media.

Dakota Fanning

Jennifer Hudson

Hailing from Conyers, Georgia, Dakota Fanning began her career at the age of five when she booked her first job on a Tide commercial which opened the gates to her career. Dakota’s first television appearance was on NBC’s, “ER” which then led to guest starring roles on television shows, “The Practice,” “Malcolm In the Middle,” “Spin City,” “Ellen,” where she played ‘Young Ellen,’ “Ally McBeal” where she played ‘Young Ally McBeal’ as well as having a Special Guest Starring role in the final season of “Friends.”

Dakota made her film debut opposite Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer when she played ‘Lucy’ in I AM SAM. She was awarded the Critics Choice Award as Best Young Actor and was also the youngest child to have ever been nominated for a SAG Award for her portrayal of ‘Lucy.’ Shortly thereafter, she starred in the Steven Spielberg produced miniseries TAKEN, which not only became the Sci-Fi Channel’s highest rated show, but also won the 2003 Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries.

Dakota’s career catapulted soon after when she starred in TRAPPED opposite Charlize Theron, DR. SEUSS’ CAT IN THE HAT opposite Mike Myers, UPTOWN GIRLS with Brittany Murphy and played the young Reese Witherspoon in SWEET HOME ALABAMA.

In 2004, Dakota starred opposite Denzel Washington in MAN ON FIRE directed by Tony Scott. Her performance earned her a second nomination for a Critics Choice Award.
The following year, Dakota co-starred in HIDE AND SEEK with Robert DeNiro. Her performance in this film earned her the 2005 MTV Movie Award™ for “Most Frightened Performance.”

In June 2005, Dakota starred with Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the H.G. Wells classic WAR OF THE WORLDS. Her performance as ‘Rachel,’ Tom Cruise’s daughter, earned Dakota her second Critics Choice Award.

In October 2005, Dakota appeared opposite Kurt Russell in DREAMER which made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. In addition, DREAMER was awarded the Truly Moving Picture Award at the Heartland Film Festival. Dakota was also proud to be a part of the remarkable ensemble of women including Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn that appeared in NINE LIVES which had its premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

The entire ensemble of women in NINE LIVES was nominated for a Gotham Award in 2005 and the film was nominated for a 2005 Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.
December 2006 marked the theatrical debut of the beloved E.B. White novel CHARLOTTE’S WEB. As the live action role of ‘Fern,’ Dakota starred alongside Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Redford, each of whom voiced animated characters in the film. Dakota was nominated for a 2006 Critic’s Choice Award for “Best Young Actress” for her portrayal of ‘Fern.’ Also in 2006, Dakota was awarded ShoWest’s Best Supporting Actress of the Year Award.

In 2007, Dakota starred in HOUNDDOG which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. She stars opposite Robin Wright Penn and David Morse. Later that year, Dakota completed Rowan Woods’ ensemble drama WINGED CREATURES opposite Forest Whitaker and Kate Beckinsale and Paul McGuigan’s sci-fi thriller PUSH alongside Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou.
Dakota’s voice can be heard in “LILO AND STITCH II,” “MY NEIGHBOR TOTARO” starring alongside her sister Elle, as well as “CORALINE” with her fellow voice-over co-star, Teri Hatcher.

At the age of 14, Dakota also does work for charity at the Mattel Children’s hospital in Los Angeles, and recently appeared in the “RED” Gap Ad’s to benefit AIDS in Africa. She is an avid reader, plays the piano, knits, collects dolls, rides horses and dances ballet. Dakota resides in Los Angeles with her parents and her sister, actress Elle Fanning.


Jennifer Hudson comes from humble beginnings singing in a small Chicago church where week after week she brought the congregation to its feet with her soul-stirring performances.
Hudson blossomed appearing in dozens of talent shows and musical productions during her grammar and high school years.

After her first professional role in a local production of “Big River,” Hudson showcased her four-octave range and charmed thousands of vacationers as a featured vocalist on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. In 2004, she wowed millions of television viewers during season three of the wildly popular Fox series “American Idol,” where she captured the hearts of American audiences everywhere.

Her breakout film performance came with her starring role in DREAMGIRLS for which she received an Academy-Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and NAACP Image Award and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award. She was also honored by the National Board of Review and was named “Entertainer of the Year” at the Soul Train Awards. In addition, she received three BET Awards nominations including Best Actress, Best Female R&B Artist and Best New Artist.

She will release her highly anticipated debut album with Clive Davis for Arista records on September 30, 2008. She recently co starred in SEX AND THE CITY: THE MOVIE, joining the hit television series' original cast of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristen Davis and WINGED CREATURES whose remarkable cast includes Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce and Jackie Earle Hayley.

Hudson attributes her vocal ability to her late grandmother, Julia Kate Hudson, a long-time choir member.