Anyone who’s seen Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington knows that Dakota Fanning can speak fluent Spanish. That is why when Dakota Fanning eventually takes a college semester abroad in Spain, she will be able to take full advantage of the experience. You may be wondering why someone like Dakota Fanning, who was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award at age 8 for her performance in I Am Sam starring Sean Penn, would even need to go to college. Well, much like a high-school basketball star who decides to attend college instead of heading straight to the NBA, Dakota Fanning is dedicated to furthering her education. So when Dakota Fanning studies in either Madrid, Seville, or even Salamanca during her junior fall semester at an Ivy League school, probably Yale, she will immediately bond with her host señora, as she will know nothing of a language barrier. Because of this, her señora will prepare her savory Spanish dishes of chorizo and tortilla español, as opposed to the cold hot dogs and spaghetti that she normally serves to her nonfluent American boarders. Dakota Fanning will begin to refer to her señora by her first name, "Belen"—something Belen has never allowed before. At night, instead of going to the Irish bar where the other American students hang out to watch reruns of Friends and drink Coors Lite, Dakota Fanning will be shown around the city by Belen’s attractive 22-year-old nephew, Javier.
Javier will take her to local tapas bars, and she will use the future-subjunctive tense with ease as she converses with the elderly patrons, whose anti-American sentiments will melt away when she demonstrates an extensive knowledge of El Cid and Cervantes. They will find her so charming that they will call her “La Rubia Precoz,” or “The Precocious Blonde.” While her American friends go to the movies to watch Harry Potter 7 with Spanish subtitles, she will attend a performance of Carmen with Spanish director Carlos Saura, whom she will have met through Robert DeNiro, having worked with him at age 10 on the film Hide and Seek. On the weekends, Dakota Fanning will take trips to the countryside to one of her new amigos‚ hacienda, where she will drink sangria and read poems by Lorca and Neruda under the shade of orange trees, while Javier (or Javey, as she calls him) plays songs he wrote for her on his Spanish guitar. On these very same weekends, Dakota Fanning’s American friends will purchase liters of beer and whiskey and sit by the river. They will become offensively drunk and throw the empty bottles into the river or break them on the cobblestoned streets. They will then make their way to a discoteca where they will dance with other Americans to the Tom Jones hit “Sex Bomb.”
Meanwhile, Dakota Fanning will learn the art of flamenco dancing from Belen, who now considers her a daughter. Dakota Fanning will learn how to flamenco so well and so quickly that she will be invited to perform at a celebrity flamenco festival in which Penelope Cruz’s sister, Monica Cruz, will also appear. She and Monica will become close friends and collaborate on several projects, including a musical adaptation of the life of Franco, which will be directed by Carlos Saura. With the proceeds from the incredible success of the film, and riding high off of her Oscar win, Dakota Fanning will buy her own hacienda in the Spanish countryside and return several times a year to visit Belen, Javey, and Monica. Dakota Fanning will later say that it was not her time at Yale nor her role in Uptown Girls with Brittany Murphy that taught her the most about life, but the four months that she spent in Spain during her junior semester abroad.