Dakota Fanning on being Effie Gray


On Sunday night, Dakota Fanning was in London for the world premiere of her new movie Effie Gray. She plays the title character in this true story set in the Victorian period – she marries John Ruskin (Greg Wise), a man much older than her and totally emotionless and she suffers in this loveless marriage until she meets painter John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge) and realises how different her life could be.

The film is Emma Thompson’s first original screenplay and the project was held up for years due to copyright infringement claims but it is now set for released on 10th October in the U.K. It currently has no release date in the U.S.

I was very gutted that Emma didn’t show because I absolutely love her but Tom made up for that by bringing his fiancee Sienna Miller. She didn’t do any interviews and he turned up very late so I didn’t get chance to chat with them.

However, I did grab a minute with the leading lady and here’s what she had to say:


What was it like working with Emma Thompson?

Oh, Emma, I can’t say enough amazing things about her, I love her so much and being in a movie that she’s written is such a amazing opportunity and something I’m so happy to have done and getting to know her, she’s like the person you want to be when you grow up.

Were you aware of the story before you read for the role?

No I didn’t know about the story before I read the script. It was my first introduction to it.

Do you feel more pressure playing a character who is a real-life person?

I think that it can be more interesting in that the things that you’re doing and things you’re saying maybe were actually said or somebody actually did so it’s kind of cool but this story obviously happened a long time ago and the real Effie has been gone for a long time, I’ve played people that are still alive that you meet and you feel a bit more of a pressure but here, I felt a little bit of a freedom to be my own Effie.

Did you enjoy wearing the Victorian costumes?

It’s obviously very restrictive but it was very fun because I love these costumes and it’s always been such a dream to be able to wear them. It felt so kind of weird and foreign at first and by the end, it felt totally normal to wear it. That was a really great part of it.

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