Interview: Elle Fanning - Maleficent


Once upon a time, Dakota Fanning was the queen of all the Hollywood child actresses. Then along came her little sister Elle, succeeding her to the throne. Now 16, Elle plays Princess Aurora in Maleficent, Disney’s new live action retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of the eponymous villainess, played by Angelina Jolie.

Were you nervous meeting Angelina Jolie?
Yes! We were at Pinewood Studios rehearsing. Everyone was, like, [whispers] ‘Angelina’s here!’ and I turned the corner and there she was. Then you’re like: oh, she’s a lady! Everyone stares, she’s so gorgeous. But she gave me a huge hug and said, ‘we’re going to have so much fun’.

People are talking about Maleficent as a feminist film. Was it important to you that it focused on female characters?
Yeah. It’s hard to find roles that aren’t just ‘the girlfriend’. We do have a prince in our film, and there is romantic love, but there are a lot of different types of love too. Maleficent is very protective of her fairy kingdom. She doesn’t want a man to take over. Angelina always loved Maleficent as a girl so she wanted to make sure it was right.

Were you a fan of Disney princesses growing up?
Yes, and Sleeping Beauty was my favourite.

Do you and Dakota talk about work when
you’re together?

It’s funny, Dakota is at NYU studying Women in Film, but we don’t talk about films very much. We’re four years apart, so when you’re 10 and 14 you’re fighting. But as we get older we’re becoming closer friends.

Is it hard to keep your friendships normal when you’re starring in films?
No. My friends are like, ‘I saw you on a poster! It was really weird!’ You know, I’m only 16. I still go to school dances and stuff.

You love fashion. Where are your favourite places to shop?
I love Topshop, it’s so giant. Me and my mum, we go. She kind of manages me!

Have you ever thought about doing something other than acting?
I do think about it. I do a lot of ballet, five days a week after school. But if you’re going to be a prima ballerina you have to stop everything. Now that I’ve done acting, I want to always do it.

Maleficent opens Thu May 29.


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