Dakota Fanning Responds to Backlash Over Controversial Casting

September 6, 2019

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Dakota Fanning responded to the backlash she’s been experiencing for her decision to portray a Muslim woman in Ethiopia in the upcoming film Sweetness in the Belly. “Just to clarify. In the new film I’m a part of, Sweetness in the Belly, I do not play an Ethiopian woman. I play a British woman abandoned by her parents at seven years old in Africa and raised Muslim,” Fanning wrote in a post on her Instagram Story this week. “My character, Lilly, journeys to Ethiopia and is caught up in the breakout of civil war. She is subsequently sent ‘home’ to England, a place she is from but has never known.” Fanning goes on to explain that the film was partly made in Ethiopia, is directed by an Ethiopian man and features many Ethiopian women. Us Weekly notes that the film is based on the novel of the same name by Camilla Gibb, and follows a British orphan in Ethiopia who grows up to become a Muslim nurse. Sweetness in the Belly will have its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival this weekend.