In Steven Spielberg's Taken, Dakota Fanning (I Am Sam) plays an adorable alien-human hybrid — whose mental powers have the entire U.S. military crying for Mommy! In real life, this precocious 8-year-old astonished a group of jaded reporters at Taken's press junket: When asked simplistic kiddie questions about her work, Fanning responded with the articulation of a seasoned pro. How did the kid learn so much so fast?

"I'm home schooled, and I have a teacher that goes with me on all my movies," Fanning explains. "She's taught me a lot 'cause I've had her since I was in second grade, and I'm in fourth grade right now."

As narrator of all 10 episodes of the Sci Fi Channel miniseries, Fanning must've had to use her imagination to picture a world invaded by aliens. Er, didn't she? "Yeah, I kind of did," the young lady admits, though she adds matter-of-factly: "I had read some of the earlier scripts, so I knew what was going on."

After two years in showbiz, Fanning's finally shooting her first kid-oriented flick — The Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers. But don't expect her to approach that project with anything but the utmost seriousness, either. Even if she is still in Dr. Seuss's target age demographic.

"It's so true to the book and everything looks exactly like I pictured it," she says. "The sets and everything look absolutely amazing. I think that's what's wonderful about the fact that Bo Welch is the production designer and the director." Geez, lighten up, already!