network
By Gabby May 14, 2017 0 Comments

Elle is next month’s VOGUE cover girl! She was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and the story was written by Nathan Heller, who accompanied her on a haunted tour of New Orlean’s French Quarter. The entire article is very entertaining, specially when it describes certain traits of Elle’s personality we have grown fond of, such as her old soul manners and her confusion when it comes to technology. The story also features a video called “Elle Fanning’s fan fantasy”, which is basically your pun dream come true. Our gallery has been updated with the issue’s cover, as well as the photoshoot and screen captures from the featured video.

elle fanning, vogueelle fanning, vogueelle fanning, vogueelle fanning, vogue

elle fanning, vogueelle fanning, vogueelle fanning, vogueelle fanning, vogue

You can tell the story of Elle Fanning through the things she does, but also through the things she does not do. Fanning would rather not sit still, for instance. She does not tweet. She does not learn her lines until the night before she shoots them (then she memorizes them in the bath) and does not watch her own talk-show appearances (“It’s like hearing your voice on an answering machine”). She does not appreciate it when the paparazzi trail her to the gym, because she thinks she’s not famous enough to merit the commotion. (“The rest of the world is like, ‘Who is that person?’ I’m like, ‘I’m sorry!’ ”) When people now stop Fanning on the street (“Are you——”), she tries not to reply, “Dakota Fanning’s sister!” Fanning, then, would not be the first person—and might actually be the last—to realize what a rare and even spooky star Fanning, at nineteen, has become.

It’s not only the regal beauty—arching eyebrows, snub nose, and a sylphic whoosh of hair—or the growing catalog of impressive work. When I meet Fanning one evening at Tableau, a high-ceilinged restaurant in New Orleans’s French Quarter, what is striking is the outward flexure of her confidence, the way she knows just who she is and wants to pass along such certainty to you.

“Hi!” she says, and throws her arms around me in a big squelch of a hug. She’s dressed in an elegant red Céline turtleneck top, black Balenciaga rockabilly denim, and Maison Margiela sneakers with sparkling buckles. She doffs her tiny Gucci purse and slides into a chair by French doors that open out onto the street. Fanning lived in New Orleans for weeks while shooting Sofia Coppola’s new movie, The Beguiled, with Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell, and Nicole Kidman. It was seven years after she had filmed Somewhere for Coppola and the first time she’d flown off alone to shoot without a family member on hand.

We’ve met for drinks (a lemonade, a Diet Coke—“a lot of ice,” she says) before embarking on a haunted tour of the French Quarter, something Fanning has always wanted to do. As an errand, it’s appropriately eerie. Coppola’s adaptation of The Beguiled (originally a 1966 novel by Thomas P. Cullinan and, later, a 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood), is the Civil War–era story of a wounded Union soldier (Farrell) taken in by a girls’ boarding school in Virginia and subjected to a gantlet of hospitality, temptation, and horror. Fanning plays Alicia, an aspiring seductress; early in the film, she steals into the soldier’s chamber and, as he sleeps, plants on him a bold To Catch a Thief–style kiss.

“Elle is so sweet, and a kid, and to have her play this role where she’s kind of like the slutty, mischievous one, very vain and kind of a bad girl—that’s the opposite of her personality,” Coppola says. “I thought that was really fun.”

“Sofia was so excited about making me the bad girl!” Fanning says. But the idea had appeal for her, too. After she finished 20th Century Women, Mike Mills’s tribute to women of three generations finding their way through the drifting, abeyant seventies, she had her star chart read for the first time (Mills’s wrap gift to her). “I am a person of huge contradictions, apparently,” she says. “Opposite, opposite, opposite.” On the one hand, there’s her Pisces side: “very girly,” otherworldly, uncanny in talent. “I’m not sure I’ve ever worked with an actress who seems to operate from such a place of deep instinct as Elle,” Colin Farrell says. Nicole Kidman speaks of her ease and grace: “Her work feels effortless.” Many young people know Fanning best as Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent, a role she adored. And although she was born in Decatur, Georgia, and spent her first couple of years in nearby Conyers, she is, to fans, the ultimate L.A. child: effortlessly stylish, enamel-cheeked, a Hollywood princess. She has acted since she was two, and has lived her life both on and for the screen. Fanning had her very first kiss on-camera, in Ginger & Rosa—and they used that take.

Yet there’s another side to Fanning (her Aries side, according to the star chart) that few people see, although she wishes more would. She has a huge temper. “My mom and my sister are always like, ‘That’s not something you brag about,’ ” she says with a laugh. “But I tell strangers—I’m also very trusting of people—like, ‘I get so mad!’ ” This is the Elle Fanning who takes no guff, who knows what she wants, who has started boxing to stay fit at the LA Fitness near her parents’ house, where she still lives, and has developed a brutal left hook. It’s the Elle Fanning who criticizes her own table manners (“I eat like a dude”) and who marches to her own beat with a gawky, Diane Keaton–like stride. Often she introduces her ideas archly—“I must say”—or tacks an incredulous “—yeah!” on the end of a sentence, meaning, Gosh, what a world. “Elle has this funny way of speaking, these old-lady phrases,” says Kirsten Dunst, with whom she developed a close friendship while shooting The Beguiled. In the years when both Fanning sisters were working as minors, Elle’s grandmother was her usual companion on set; Elle sometimes has the waggish voice and vantage of another time.

That Fanning has a taste for professional adventurousness. She stunned some people last year, when, newly eighteen, she starred in Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon: a dark parable of sex and death and stardom whose surreal dreamscape culminated—rather divisively—in a spectacle of horror-film gore. (Dakota Fanning says she was so rattled watching her sister seem to suffer torment at the movie’s climax that she almost fled the theater. When the lights came up, she was amazed: “I was so moved by her as an actor.”) In The Beguiled, Fanning has another outré role—at least by the measure of Civil War mores. “It’s seductive in that I show my collarbone,” she says. “Like, Oh! Her ankle is out.”

Such roles have brought on lots of long-faced-press questions about growing within her craft, maturing as an actress, and the artist she aspires to be. She finds this line of inquiry bizarre.

“Obviously, people watch you grow up on-screen,” she says, taking a sip of Diet Coke. To her, moviemaking is the easy part: the constant and familiar churn. She doesn’t understand why people ask so little about what is truly strange and new about getting older. Parties, for example. Graduation. Figuring out what kind of woman you are going to be.

“You have responsibilities at eighteen that you didn’t have before, but you still feel like a little kid,” she says. Until Dakota went off to NYU, the sisters, their parents, and their grandmother all lived together in L.A., and the Fannings have an extended family of, as Elle puts it, “girls, girls, girls!” She thinks a lot about the women around her and the standards that they’ve set. Around the time of her high school graduation, she realized that she shouldn’t coast mindlessly into an acting career and weighed other options, including college. But the choice, she says, was easy in the end: “It’s scary to think of not being able to do movies still.”

Fanning has a vivid, cinematic inner life: One of her favorite pastimes, she tells me, is sitting on her bed and letting her imagination run. When she goes to sleep, she has clear, lucid dreams that dredge up buried memories and sometimes, she thinks, let her see the future. There was the time in fourth grade when she and three of her friends made plans to see Twilight at the Grove, in L.A. She could scarcely wait. She had a crush on a particular boy at school (a fifth-grader—you know how it is), and when she went to bed the night before the movie, she dreamed about rounding a corner in the Grove and seeing him there. “I woke up that day and told my friends, ‘We’re going to see him! I just know we’re going to see him.’ They’re like, ‘He doesn’t even live close by.’ ” But in fact her crush did appear at the Grove that day—right in the spot where Fanning had dreamed he would be. “I’m like a witch!” she exclaims delightedly.

This all seems a swell prelude to our haunted tour. I’m even a little spooked, and probably look it. “If I dream about you tonight,” Fanning says with a reassuring laugh, “I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

On the north corner of Jackson Square, we meet Michael Bill, a “paranormal investigator” sent by Ghost City Tours. En route to the Quarter, I had realized that I had no mental image of what a ghost-tour guide looks like, but when we spot him, it is clear that Bill could not be anything else. Gray-bearded and tanned, he wears white jeans with knee-high lace-up boots, a button-down shirt printed with Star Wars logos, and two huge silver crosses around his neck. Strapped to one thigh he has a pack in which he keeps some spirit sensors, and on his back he wears a bulky JanSport filled with other vitals of the trade.

“We’ll use the Ovilus, and I have a couple of spirit boxes, and we’ll see what happens,” he explains. His voice is like a plucked banjo; his chestnut hair is parted on one side. We wander to a nearby corner and a stately old French Quarter eatery.

“This is Muriel’s,” Bill explains. “It’s a good restaurant. It’s also haunted.” The ghost is Pierre Jourdan, who, in the late eighteenth century, lost the deed in a heated poker game and hanged himself. Up a winding staircase to the second floor, a plush room has been lit in soft red light. We sit, and Bill takes out his Ovilus, a device that turns spiritual energy into En­glish words. It looks like a baby monitor. “Is it true that this place is haunted?” he asks.

Fanning is scrutinizing the screen of the device when it delivers its reply. “Definitely,” she says.

On Royal Street a female reveler, probably possessed by spirits of another kind, shouts to Fanning from a car: “Dear, I like your top!” The Céline top is, in fact, great. With a high neck and an opening around the navel, it’s a kind of grown-up evening version of the midriff-baring shirts that Fanning wore as a child. But as the car zooms on, Fanning doesn’t hear “Dear, I like your top”; she hears “Dear God, you’re tall!” She has been self-conscious about her height—a very reasonable five feet nine—ever since she shot up seven inches one year and gained two shoe sizes while shooting Somewhere. And yet her elegant, long form makes it easy to find clothes she loves: Rodarte (fashion’s own California sisters) and Miu Miu (quirky and fun). “Rodarte and Miu Miu are like characters in a film,” she explains. Last spring, at Cannes, she got to wear a sumptuous Valentino dress, and that was heaven. She loved to spread the skirt for cameras. “I was basically just walking around with it flared.”

It’s dark now, and the tight French Quarter streets are filled with nighttime wanderers. Bill leads us to a building that was formerly a brothel; he says that it was called the House of the Rising Sun. If a john treated the women badly there, the madam would exact revenge. She’d offer the man a laced drink, served by two ladies. Then two more women would come, and then more. “The rube would realize he was surrounded by six very pissed-off prostitutes!” he exclaims. “They would beat him down, slit his throat, take out his wallet, roll him into a pre-dug grave, take out the cash—and the coup de grâce would come when they would throw the empty bottle on top of him and cover him up!” Today, he says, the building is a hotel.

Fanning smiles sweetly. “So bring, like, a bad boyfriend or something,” she says.

The Fannings were supposed to be a family of athletes, not actors. Dakota and Elle’s father had been in the minor leagues, their mother played tennis professionally, and an aunt was a sideline reporter in football. Although Elle has always had physical interests—she did ballet for a while, before subjecting herself to a brief but intense preoccupation with hot yoga—the sisters’ interests quickly turned in other directions. When Dakota was five, she went to a local theater camp and was spotted by a scout. “It was a play called Blue Fish. She was the blue fish!” Elle explains. “They’re like, You need to go to L.A. or New York with her, because she was amazing at being the blue fish.” In an act of parental heroism, their mother put her life in Georgia on hold and relocated to California with Dakota for commercials and pilot season; Elle and her father followed when Dakota booked a lead in the Sean Penn drama I Am Sam. Elle was called on set to play that character’s younger self. By the time she was six, they were giving interviews together.

Today, Elle talks about Dakota with open awe and something more. “You think, Gosh, if I didn’t have a sister who started acting, would I be acting?” she says. A peek at home videos of the toddler Elle reveals a natural performer. (“Here’s . . . Elle Fanning!” she cries into the camera, spreading her arms wide.) But her path was cleared by Dakota, and a mutual loyalty has lingered as their work has diverged. “People sometimes want us to feel weird jealousy or competition,” Dakota says. “It will never happen. There’s no one I want to see succeed or soar more.”

Elle loathes auditions—she once fainted in one from sheer terror—but she loves to meet with directors and talk a project over. When Coppola cast Somewhere, the two immediately hit it off. “She just had a really fun, sparkling personality,” Coppola says. “It’s that rare combination of being sophisticated but a kid at the same time—she’s not a mini-adult like a lot of kid actors.” Because the character in Somewhere skates, Coppola offered Fanning an ice-skating double, but Fanning knew the skating scene was key, so for weeks she took early-morning and after-school lessons. Somewhere showed the world she was more than just Dakota Fanning’s sister. But that was already quite long ago. “All of a sudden, she’s much taller than me,” Coppola says. “But the same person, with the same sparkly essence.”

Marilyn Monroe has been Fanning’s hero for about fifteen years—most of her life. She studies Marilyn’s interviews the way some study paintings by Cézanne. “You could always see the emotions that she was feeling . . . in her eyes,” she says. “She didn’t know how great she was.”

She often wonders how Marilyn would have managed social media. For years, Fanning resisted what she calls (in excellent old-lady fashion) “the Facebook and the Twitter.” But as time went on she worried she was too much in her shell. “I need to evolve with the times!” she says. She’s a visual person, so Instagram beckoned. As of this writing, her account has upward of 900,000 followers. “Before you share, you get nervous: You can’t help but have those flashes,” she says. “My sister has a million followers—which is nothing compared with Selena Gomez, who has the world.”

Yet Fanning’s embrace of technology is still vexed at best. She got Netflix for the first time this past winter. She does not have any of the new emojis on her iPhone, because she has not managed to update it in a while. As a result, much of what her friends text her shows up as question marks and gibberish. She’s too chagrined to tell them, so she acts as if she understands.

We are sitting under the awning of Café du Monde, eating local delicacies: a café au lait (me), chocolate milk (her), and beignets—doughnut-like fried dough piled high with powdered sugar. As I gingerly lift one to my mouth, trying to avoid getting the sugar everywhere, she tells me not to overthink it, then adds, deadpan: “Just don’t breathe.”

Fanning is funny. On the set of The Beguiled, she and Dunst dreamed of starring together in a comedy. (“She’s hilarious,” Dunst says. “I’d like to see Elle host SNL.”) The girls’-school exterior was shot at the Louisiana plantation that Beyoncé used in Lemonade, but interior scenes were filmed in the exquisite, rambling New Orleans home of the comic actress Jennifer Coolidge, whom Fanning knew best as Paulette from the legendary bend-and-snap scene in Legally Blonde. (“We didn’t ask. We were too scared.”) Coolidge has a famous Halloween party every year, and Fanning and Dunst went as, respectively, a fairy and a nurse. They felt as if they’d missed a memo. “Everyone was in Marie Antoinette Gothic garb,” Fanning says. “We really stuck out.”

She didn’t care, though. Since a period of early-adolescent effort to blend in (skinny jeans, neutral tops), she has tried to embrace doing things her own way, with proud Elle-ness, even if it strikes others as strange. For instance, senior prom. Fanning and her best friend, Cassio, had planned for weeks to be each other’s dates. Then Fanning learned she had to go to Cannes and wouldn’t be able to make the dance. She had a crazy notion: What if they both went to France and made it their own version of prom? They did, and Elle wore her prom dress to the red carpet, and Cassio wore his prom tux, and it was a great time—actually, the greatest time—a time so good they do not like to talk about it, because they think they’ll never have so much fun again.

A number of Fanning’s friends are of a different generation, encountered through work. Aside from her close bond with Dunst, she often gets dinner with Mike Mills; she spends a really surprising amount of her life chatting on the phone with the 80-year-old Bruce Dern. She also leans on her school friends—many of them have parents in the movie business, so they understand her long absences to shoot—and, now that some have left for college, worries about her social world thinning. She’s single at the moment, although she daydreams of being swept off her feet. “I’m superromantic,” she says—and then, as if worried I didn’t hear, throws out her arms and shouts it on the Café du Monde patio: “Superromantic!” Still, she doesn’t really know how you meet people, at least the right people, outside school.

“Will I be in Café du Monde? Will there be a spotlight on someone? I don’t know where to find these people. But I also don’t want to screw with the magic of organically finding someone.” She wants to have a family, but to be eighteen, nineteen, is not to be there yet. “We’re just going with the flow. We haven’t learned, you know, the hard ways of the world.” She considers for a moment, and adds, “We’re not humans yet.”

Well, one of us, anyway. Having just gobbled up two plates of beignets with Fanning, I am feeling all too human, and we walk off the pastries around the Quarter. It’s a warm, clear day, and Fanning is dressed for spring: a lovely, full, white shoulderless dress by The Row, sandals by Chanel, a big white Rochas bag. As we step into the sunlight, she pulls a blue-and-pink Chanel sweater over her shoulders. (Another thing that Elle Fanning does not do: tan.) We stop by the costume-wig store where she found the perfect hair for her fairy costume, and then a vintage shop. In The Beguiled, the women wear period attire, but without the usual hoop cages. “The silhouette looks like something you could wear now or in the seventies,” says Coppola. “These long floral dresses . . . . It’s this kind of dusty-pastel world.”

Fanning has made her last three movies for female directors. Following The Beguiled, with Coppola, she went to Savannah, Georgia, to film the crime thriller Galveston, directed by Mélanie Laurent. And she’s just about to fly to upstate New York to shoot a new Reed Morano film, I Think We’re Alone Now. (“Basically, it’s just me and Peter Dinklage,” she says. “He’s the last man on Earth—and then I show up.”) She has been receiving vocal coaching in preparation for Teen Spirit, a movie about an American Idol–like competition, made by the same team that produced La La Land. “That will be challenging, for sure,” she says.

The really big challenge that Fanning dreams of is directing. “I definitely, definitely want to do that,” she says. “As an actor, you’re exploring someone else’s vision. I’d like to be able to create that vision instead.” Refn, the director of The Neon Demon, strongly supports the idea, she reports. And as she talks, I realize that there’s little in the world I want to see more than an Elle Fanning–directed film. She’s in Aries mode now: focused, businesslike, confident, full of urgent vision. “I know it’s hard—so many people asking you questions all the time,” she says. “It’s a huge challenge. But I want that.”

Source: Vogue

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply