A MINUTE WITH:
Elle Fanning on the spell of 'Maleficent'
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[June 04, 2014] By
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At just 16
years of age, Elle Fanning has spent nearly 90 percent of her life
in the movie business, having made her debut as a 2-year-old,
younger version of her actress sibling Dakota Fanning.
But this is no jaded teen actor. She gets excited about
playing a Disney princess opposite Angelina Jolie's villain in
"Maleficent," the big-budget retelling of the fairytale classic
"Sleeping Beauty" that prevailed at the North American box
office in its debut last weekend.
With her long blond locks and angelic face, Fanning has starred
in independent films like "Somewhere" as well as blockbusters
like "Super 8." She was 14 when she played Princess Aurora, who
is cursed by Maleficent.
Fanning talked to Reuters about playing a princess with more
depth and finding the fun in her film roles.
Q: Is this the biggest production you've been in?
A: This is definitely the biggest scale - set-wise, green
screen and Angelina. It's pretty huge. And playing a Disney
princess, going on set and being there with so many crew members
was very different. But it was exciting to have all the world
Q: What is your mind-set on such a big production, in a
A: This one was very special to me, because Sleeping
Beauty was my favorite princess growing up. I felt I looked like
her the most. To be able to say I am a part of the Disney
princess family...that was huge for me.
In the animated (version), she has all those characteristics of
a princess; she is very delicate and frolics around in the
forest. In ours she does that, but she has more strength to her,
there is a little bit more depth. In live action, you can really
show those emotions. She feels sadness and betrayal.
Q: What did you like about this retelling of "Sleeping
A: All the questions you have in the original, this one
answers those. You get to the back story, you get to see why she
(Maleficent) became this way. I don't think someone is just born
evil. I think someone has to push them to be bad. That's what I
love about it.
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She stands up for her home, she is protecting it from mankind as
well... She is a powerful lady and she is definitely in charge.
There is a prince, but she is definitely the heroine. It's
definitely girl power.
Q: Your director Robert Stromberg is a famous production
designer. What is it like being an actor in a production where your
director is a real artist?
A: I remember going into rehearsals for the first time and he
showed me all these sketches. There was this room with all these
mood boards. He was so excited about that, and the vibe of the film
he wanted to get right. Even if I didn't know how the characters
would look exactly, he had it all set out in his brain. He had to
imagine all that and also work with us as characters. He did such an
Q: How do you choose your roles these days?
A: You get scripts and read them. I feel like if you have to
deliberate about it - 'should I do this or not?' - it is probably
'no.' Because you are going to have to go do it for three months and
play that person so you want to have a huge connection to it.
I always try to switch things up. From 'Maleficent,' which is such a
huge scale, I went and did 'Young Ones' and 'Low Down' which were
real small independent films. I like having different experiences
and obviously playing different characters because you don't want to
get bored. You want to always look different in films and speak
differently. That's the fun of it. It's like dressing up.
(Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Gunna Dickson)
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