Tween Wolverine! All about Logan's Fierce Child Star Dafne Keen
At just 11 years old, the young actress steals the show in the latest Wolverine spin-off
Step aside, Millie Bobby Brown — there’s a new badass child star in town.
Just over four feet tall and incredibly dangerous, Laura comes under the guardianship of Jackman’s Logan while being hunted in the violent R-rated flick.
Here’s five things you should know about Keen before (and after) watching Logan this weekend:
1. It took an extensive casting call to find her
While casting the young actress to take on the role of Laura, Logan director James Mangold tasked U.K. casting director Priscilla John to find a 12-year-old girl with martial arts, tumbling and acrobatic skills.
After searching through England and Ireland and seeing more than 500 kids, John told Vanity Fair she was coming up short. When she broadened her search to include those living in Spain, one of her associates remembered Keen and asked Keen’s father, Will, to put the then 10-year-old acrobat and gymnast on tape.
“She’s looking all around her . . . and [in her eyes] you could see she was devouring everything in that room,” John said of the casting tape. “She had an innocence and a vulnerability, and I said to James, ‘People are going to fall in love with her.’”
Soon enough, Keen was sent to the States to screen test with Jackman—and the rest is history.
2. Acting is in her blood
Keen is the daughter of British actor Will Keen, whose credits include playing Michael Adeane on Netflix’s The Crown and Thomas Cranmer in Wolf Hall. He also appeared alongside Natalie Dormer in the BBC Drama The Scandalous Lady W.
Keen’s mother, Maria Fernández Ache, is a Spanish actress, writer and director. In 2015, she co-starred in the Brit gangster flick Anti-Social, which also featured Prince Harry’s girlfriend and Suits star Meghan Markle.
3. The bilingual actress was only 11-years-old while shooting
Growing up between the UK and Spain, Keen is fluent in both Spanish and English—a skill which helped her land the role of the pre-teen Latina mutant.
“She’s a remarkable kid,” Mangold said in an interview with Digital Spy. “It was a huge risk for Fox to allow me to make a movie where the third point of the triangle was built upon someone so young.”
4. She has only one other credit to her name
Keen’s impressive film debut comes with only one other credit to her name.
In 2014, Keen played Ana “Ani” Cruz Oliver alongside her father in the UK/Spain television series The Refugees, which ran for a single-eight episode season. The series centers on the story of the Cruz family after the arrival of a mysterious refugee with a mission that changes their lives.
5. A spin-off of Keen’s very own may be in the future
With the studio seemingly positioning Laura to take over Wolverine’s role and Mangold’s keen desire to work with Keen again, a spin-off centered on Laura looks like it could be a possibility down the road.
“I think Dafne is incredible in the film and I would love to see another film about that character and that’s certainly something I’d be involved in,” Mangold told We’ve Got This Covered while promoting Logan. “For me that was one of the big additions I brought to the table, this decision to try to make the film about family and to try to insert Laura.”
Logan is in theaters now.