Dakota Fanning Cast As Sara Howard

TNT announced today that Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) has been cast as intrepid police secretary, Sara Howard, in the upcoming TV adaptation of The Alienist. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this will be Ms. Fanning’s “first significant TV foray since her turn in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 Syfy miniseries Taken.” In the intervening time, she has appeared in films including The War of the Worlds (2005), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), the Twilight saga (2009-10), Effie Gray (2014), The Benefactor (2015), and most recently American Pastoral (2016). In the coming years, she will also be appearing in The Bell Jar and Ocean’s Eight.

In addition, there appears to be some good news for Alienist fans hoping for a loyal adaptation, with TNT’s press release describing the character of Sara Howard in terms consistent with the source material (see below). It will be exciting to see who is cast for the remaining members of the investigative team, as well as the important historical figure of Theodore Roosevelt. Production begins in early 2017 in Budapest.

Fanning’s character, the primly dressed but beautiful Sara Howard, is the first woman hired by the New York Police Department and she is determined to become the first female police detective in New York City. Self-possessed and intelligent, Sara grew up as an only child who was doted on by her father. She not only “shakes hands like a man,” but considers herself just as competent –- if not more so –- than any of the men on the force. Well-bred and well-spoken, Sara has a keen interest in crime-solving and is immediately intrigued by the case being investigated by Kreizler and Moore.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5895246bj), Dakota Fanning of ‘American Pastoral’, Variety and Shutterstock Portrait Studio, Day 1, Toronto International Film Festival, Canada – 09 Sep 2016

3 comments on “Dakota Fanning Cast As Sara Howard

  1. Thank god! Dakota delivers. Intelligent. Hell of an actress. She can do it. I only hope the script is up to the challenge.

  2. I am pleasantly surprised by this choice! It’s also good to hear that the character of Sara Howard stays faithful to the source material. Now we just have to hope that the script does not deviate a whole lot from the novel. Obviously there will be some deviations – rarely is a book ever transferred 100% fully and faithfully from the page to the screen – but as long as the character motivations and plot points are generally met, I should be satisfied.

  3. It’s fantastic that Sara’s character is not being tampered with – very promising! However i’m rather disappointed with the casting choice. Dakota is beautiful and talented, but I personally think she’s simply not right for the part. An actress around the age of thirty would be more appropriate. I feel that Dakota is, and looks, far too young to play the strong-willed and mature Sara.

    Perhaps Dakota would be more suited to play Mary. Even then it would be at a push since Mary is only twelve years younger than the Doctor.

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