Sara Howard lives in the dark world of the seedier side of New York City in the late 19th century. Actress Dakota Fanning plays Sara on the TNT anthology thriller “The Alienist” and was excited to halt her film career for a short while to take on the role. In our recent interview (watch above), she reveals, “I was thrilled at the opportunity to show such a pioneer, ground-breaking character for 1896. We didn’t get to see women in those positions very often, so I loved that aspect of the story. I tend to be drawn to darker subject matter in general.”
Her character is the secretary to the police commissioner and assists new criminal psychologist Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) who is on the hunt for a serial killer targeting street children. Kreizler is aided by a newspaper illustrator (Luke Evans) and twin brothers who also work for the NYPD (Douglas Smith and Matthew Shear).
She adds, “One of my favorite things when I first read it was the birth of forensics with science and psychology that we see throughout the series. Sarah had a line in episode two saying, ‘Isn’t it surmised that people’s fingerprints do not change over the course of their lifetime?’ I read that and of course, there would have been a time when people didn’t realize that. It’s hard to imagine in today’s day and age of DNA, fingerprints and all that stuff. There was someone who had to discover that.”
Emmy-winning director Cary Joji Fukunaga (“True Detective”) is an executive producer and writer for “The Alienist,” which premiered on January 22. The 10th and final episode, “Cabin in the Sky,” airs tonight on TNT. The show will compete on this summer’s Emmy Awards ballot in the limited series categories, including for leads Fanning, Bruhl and Evans.
Fanning began her career at age six in 2000 with guest roles on popular TV programs “E.R.,” “Ally McBeal,” “C.S.I.,” “The Practice,” “Spin City” and “Malcolm in the Middle.” She then moved right into movies with a supporting nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for the 2002 Sean Penn film “I Am Sam.” She followed with “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Uptown Girls,” “Man on Fire,” “War of the Worlds,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” “The Runaways” and “American Pastoral.”
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