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Shailene Woodley and Dakota Fanning have a fair bit in common. Both were child actors who managed to successfully transition into serious adult actors. Both have been a part of major film franchises, Fanning in the Twilight movies and Woodley in the Divergent series. Both actors even managed to have normal high school experiences despite their connection to Hollywood.

Diane Kruger, Shailene Woodley and Dakota Fanning
Diane Kruger, Shailene Woodley, and Dakota Fanning | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

‘I Am Sam’ was Dakota Fanning’s breakout role

With less than three years between them, it is no surprise that Woodley and Fanning have been considered for some of the same roles. Decades ago, both women auditioned for the 2001 film, I Am Sam. Ultimately, it was Fanning who ended up nabbing the coveted role of Lucy. In fact, the film marked The Alienist actor’s breakout role and she became the youngest individual SAG award nominee for the role at seven years old.

Shailene Woodley was devastated when she didn’t get cast in the movie

While I Am Sam was a win for Fanning, Woodley, who was just 9 at the time, was feeling pretty devastated that she was not cast after auditioning. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she recalled the conversation she had with her dad about the once-coveted role.

“My dad pulled me aside, and he said: ‘Shai, what are you doing? You have so much anger, and you’re feeling so let down by the fact that you didn’t book [I Am Sam],'” Woodley recalled. Continuing on, the Endings, Beginnings actor shared that her dad helped her work through her disappointment by encouraging her to send Fanning well-wishes. He also reminded her that her time would come.

Woodley’s dad made her send positive energy to Fanning

“I want you to close your eyes right now and picture this Dakota girl, and I want you to send her so much love and so much light because one day you’re going to book something that you really want, and you’re not going to want all of the girls around you that you competed against to feel anger against you,” Woodley’s dad told her. “You’re going to want them to support you on your journey. And so it’s your turn right now to support Dakota on her journey.’ And so I did that.”


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Both Fanning and Woodley have found tons of success in Hollywood

It seems that Woodley’s dad was right. There were plenty of opportunities to go around for Woodley and Fanning. Today, both women boast impressive resumes and have received a ton of critical acclaim. We are sure fans of both actors are looking forward to seeing what new and exciting projects they attach themselves to next. Only time will tell what the talented performers have up their sleeves.