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Sundance Darling Elle Fanning on How She Stays Grounded and Working With Angelina Jolie on 'Maleficent'

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire January 21, 2014 at 4:29PM

She may just be months away from turning sweet 16, but make no mistake about it, Elle Fanning is an actress to contend with. At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival with two very different works, the futuristic western "Young Ones" and Jeff Preiss' devastating character study "Low Down," Fanning proves her formidable range.
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What intimidates you now? You're only 15, but you've already worked alongside stars like Angelina Jolie, Michael Shannon and John Hawkes.

Things do intimidate me for sure (laughs). Meeting everyone for the first time. With Peter Dinklage [who stars in "Low Down"], everyone had a huge crush on him. All my friends were like "Game of Thrones"! It was a huge deal meeting him. I get nervous meeting people.

You've appeared in both indies and blockbusters ("Super 8," the upcoming "Maleficent"). Is that a conscious decision on your part -- to mix things up?

I like to choose opposites because it's fun to experiment. I did "Low Down" right after "Maleficent," and they're so different. "Maleficent" is green screen, nothing's really tangible. You're touching air and then there's a fire breathing dragon! But that's exciting to do. I love doing both.

Indies are always fun because you're on location and you're experiencing. You're really there in the moment.

Maleficent

How excited are you to see yourself in "Maleficent," given you shot the whole film with green screen?

Very! I haven't seen anything except for the trailers that people have seen. It's going to be fun. Being a princess is every girl's dream!

Did you grow up watching "Sleeping Beauty"?

Yes, it's my favorite one! I thought I related her to the most because I had the long blonde hair. Cinderella had the bangs. I was like, "Aurora is like me!" She was mine (laughs).

I know it's Maleficent's movie, but how big of a part does Aurora play in the tale?

It's like "Wicked" in a sense. You go back and discover more about Maleficent. But I'm definitely in there. It's a strong kind of relationship with me and Maleficent. Most of my scenes were with Angelina.

How do you go about selecting your projects now? You're one of the most, if not the most, in demand teenage actress.

Well they come and I just want to — obviously reading and making sure. The characters are interesting. I just want to make something I can play with a little bit. It's fun to do that. I love making them really real and kind of odd in a way. Just making sure they're unique and unlike something you've seen before. Because that's what you want to do! Everyone likes new and fresh things — it excites people. So it excites me when I read something that's different.

Onscreen you come across as an old soul despite your age. Do you consider yourself one?

To me I'm 15. I'm excited I'm about to turn 16. Sweet 16! I have my dress. I'm having a dinner with my friends — all girls. Very, very girly! So to me, I'm thinking about that stuff. Formals coming up and prom.


This article is related to: Sundance 2014, Sundance Film Festival, Elle Fanning, Angelina Jolie, Low Down, Young Ones, Interviews







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