An actress who won a significant dose of notoriety for her title role in Adrian Lyne’s 1997 adaptation of Lolita, Dominique Swain had the dubious honor of being caught up in the scandal of her feature film debut. Thanks to the content of the film — which, unlike Stanley Kubrick’s earlier version of Nabokov’s novel, emphasized its more explicitly sexual aspects — Lolita had great difficulty finding a U.S. distributor and was effectively consigned to video store shelves. However, many of the critics who did see the film were impressed with Swain’s performance, remarking that she more than held her own opposite such seasoned costars as Jeremy Irons and Melanie Griffith.
Born, according to legend, in the back of her father’s Datsun somewhere on the Santa Monica Freeway on August 12, 1980, Swain grew up with three sisters (one of whom, Chelsea, is also an actress) in Malibu. Her interest in acting led to a role as a stunt double in The Good Son and an audition for the lead in Lolita; the fledgling actress was eventually chosen for the part by director Lyne over 2,500 hopefuls. Following her work in the 1997 film, Swain appeared as the rebellious daughter of John Travolta and Joan Allen in John Woo’s Face/Off later that same year, and then starred as the eponymous heroine of Girl (1998), a coming-of-age drama about a spoiled high school student trying to make sense of sex.
Swain’s growing popularity was more than adequately demonstrated in 2000, when she was involved in no less than eight screen projects. Included amongst them were The Smokers, in which the actress played one of a trio of teens who want revenge on their boyfriends, and Intern, which cast her in the title role of an intern who becomes the head of a fashion magazine.