EN Interview 2 - Elle Fanning, 16, is the younger sister of actress Dakota. She is mainly known for her starring roles in Phoebe in Wonderland, Somewhere, and We Bought a Zoo. In 2011, she landed her breakout role in Super 8, which earned her numerous awards.
Her first role came at the age of two years and eight months playing the younger version of Dakota in Taken, and I Am Sam. She also appeared in Daddy Daycare, The Door in the Floor, Because of Winn-Dixie, Charlotte’s Web, Babel, The Nines, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Déjà Vu, Reservation Road, and most recently, Ginger & Rosa, for which she earned rave reviews.
Now she stars as the iconic princess, Sleeping Beauty, in Maleficent opposite Angelina Jolie in the much-awaited adaptation of the famous fairytale.
Q: Was Aurora your favourite princess growing up?
FANNING: Yes she was, actually. And I’m not just saying that; she was (laughs)
Q: What did you like about playing her?
FANNING: If you are going to be a princess it’s good to change the hair colour and each dress colour for the specific role and Sleeping Beauty was always my favourite because she wore the pink dress and has the long hair. I related to her. Those were the things in the Disney store that I’d get; her clothes and her doll and her little clip-on earrings and I’d dress up as her. So, when they asked me to be Sleeping Beauty that was so huge because when you are little, they ask you, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ You always say, ‘A Disney princess!’ and I can say that I actually did that now. It’s so crazy when you think about, to fulfil that dream! (laughs)
Q: You’ve taken this role very seriously, this Disney princess?
FANNING: A little bit just because I know there are so many fans of the animated movie and I don’t want to let them down; I want to do it the right way. This is the first film they ever did with Sleeping Beauty played by a person so before I started filming I went and I watched the animated movie again just because I wanted to. She has a very specific gait; her posture is very good and has little hand motions and I wanted to be sure I incorporated it in the same way that she walks and holds her dress so I tried to bring that into my version of Sleeping Beauty.
Q: What does it mean to you to play a character that represents beauty?
FANNING: It was very exciting. Also I felt that hers is a type of beauty that is a natural beauty; she is not making herself up, she’s not doing her hair or putting lipstick on. She lives out in a cottage with her three aunties who take care of her; they make her dresses so she has her own clothes, her hair is down other than maybe she puts some flowers in it. And yeah, during the filming I wore a wig but it wasn’t much make up. It very natural and so I liked that I was kind of representing natural beauty instead of an all done up kind of beauty.
Q: How much do you identify with her?
FANNING: I do identify with her. I guess a lot in some ways but in other ways I don’t at all. There’s one scene where she is probably the most pure and innocent princess just because she is trapped away and when she meets the prince for the first time she has never seen a male before in her life because she is so cut off. I think her curiosity comes through. I have always wanted to learn things and I try to find everything I can and absorb all I can and in that way we are alike. She wants to learn about everything.
Q: How is the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora?
FANNING: It’s different. Our story is Sleeping beauty and it has all the iconic images that you think off when you think of the animated film but there is a lot more to it; all the questions that you have when you are watching the animated film are pretty much answered in Maleficent. And also you get to see Maleficent and Aurora together a lot in the movie. All my scenes are basically with Angelina and in the animated film they are never together. You just see her when she curses at the christening so you get to see that.
Q: What did you learn from Angelina and what was the smartest suggestion she gave you?
FANNING: We got along very well. She is amazing. She really never told me anything but I could pick up on things from just observation. She was very meticulous, took care of every detail, like, the costume she wanted to be right so she worked with the makeup a lot to get the right look and everything. So, me seeing her so invested in it that much, it was like, ‘I want to be like that.’
Q: How do you see yourself in ten, 20 years? Do you want to be like Angelina Jolie?
FANNING: You can only dream. Angelina has done so much for other people and I hope to do that because she is not just a famous celebrity, people know her around the world because she is able to do things for other people. I hope to be like that in that way.
Q: Did you know her before, as you worked with Brad in two movies?
FANNING: No, I didn’t. I worked with Brad but I never met her.
Q: You’ve worked with a lot of adults. Do you get along with teenagers?
FANNING: (laughs) I go to a regular school so I do have friends and so I relate to people my age because we go to the same things. I have a lot of close friends.
Q: What do you think of selfies?
FANNING: I think selfies are very convenient for like fans if they come up and they can just flip it around. That helps.
Q: Do you have a lot of Facebook or Twitter?
FANNING: I don’t. I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. I have a private Instagram which is not open. I don’t think I’m that interesting for people look at me all the time. I don’t know. It’s not me to have Twitter – I don’t know what I’d write.
Q: Are you thinking about the future much? Do you know what you want to do?
FANNING: I’m 16. I don’t know. I know I want to act forever but also there are other things. Like, I love writing so if I go to college I want to study that and then also to direct. I would love to do that.
Q: Whom do you idolise?
FANNING: I had a Bob Dylan moment; a huge Bob Dylan moment. I was very into him I was listening to all the songs, checking him on Wikipedia and I have his harmonica, his real harmonica from a producer from a movie that they found out I was going through that phase and they gave that to me. From his 2009 tour and he definitely used it so it’s amazing that I have that.
Q: How do you feel that at the age of 16 and you’re already a fashion icon?
FANNING: It’s so crazy. (laughs) I am very into fashion and I always have been. Just putting things together I’m very definite about what I like and I’m risky. I definitely go for it. It’s funny because I look up to people and when people look at to me I get surprise
Q: Do you care about being judged?
FANNING: I know people do that especially if you go to a red carpet event they totally are going to pick up on what you are wearing and judge it but if I like it and I’m ok with it, then I am fine if people say it’s weird or not something they would wear. I like it so you know, I’m fine with it.
Q; What fashion are you into right now?
FANNING: It’s definitely changing. I went through a kind of period of wearing big pants, cream colours. Rodarte I love, always love them,
Q: You are having fun in your teenager years, by the sounds of it. It’s a good time to be a teenager.
FANNING: It’s great. There is so much technology and all of that and we are expressing ourselves and our generation is really open to being an individual. I love that idea as I think everyone should be their own person so it’s not like they put you in a group or in a box. We are kind of stepping out of that box. People are speaking out, even in my school we have so many clubs about different issues and I feel like before we didn’t used to have that. When I was way younger I remember my sisters in high school and people were less involved and we are getting more involved.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
FANNING: I like Bob Dylan, I like Simon and Garfunkel, Lorde is good I like her a lot, I love Lana del Rey,
Q: Did you go to Coachella?
FANNING: I’ve never gone. All my friends go and they get all the outfits together. I feel I would like to go for the music and it seems like a fun thing but I need to be older. I wouldn’t be able to go now.
Q: Do you still have to do what your parents say?
FANNING: Yes. I still don’t drive and I don’t have a permit. They drive me around. I live with them so I have to listen what they say. We are a big family. I have many cousins in Georgia, a lot of aunts and uncles. We are very family oriented. And my sister comes back all the time from New York.
Q: How do you keep your privacy?
FANNING: It’s good to leave. I promote films during two months of the year but mostly I’m in school and sometimes there are paparazzi there but my life is very secluded. The fame comes with the territory but I don’t have social media so my life is very private.
Cover Media/Viva Press