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THE PREMIER ONLINE RESOURCE FOR ACTRESS ELLE FANNING, ESTABLISHED IN 2003
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ELLE – She was just 14 when she was cast as Sleeping Beauty in the first Maleficent.
Now Elle Fanning is 21 and promoting its sequel—and showcasing a very grown-up version of theme-dressing on the red carpet, busting out a custom Gucci ensemble at the LA premiere, complete with a bloodied finger prick (in sequins, naturally).
She’s also the smiling face emblazoned across ELLE Australia’s November 2019, clad in a coral-pink Fendi dress and beaming with the kind of effervescent energy she’s become known for.
She’s renowned for her red-carpet outfits, glowing as a 1970s Barbie for the camp-themed Met Gala in May, sporting a peach Miu Miu coord, elaborate nail art and a waterfalling high pony.
She was crowned (by us) best-dressed at this year’s Cannes Film Festival thanks to her array of glamorous gowns, from ethereal white Reem Acra to shocking pink Vivienne Westwood, but it was a vintage-esque Dior outfit that was her favourite.

“At Cannes, you can go big and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to do separates, and I asked Dior if they would be into a ball skirt and shirt situation, and it morphed into the New Look. We added the hat very last-minute. It was exciting because I’m very nostalgic of the ’50s and ’60s. Old Hollywood glamour is so classic, I wish it would come back.”

It’s the red carpet where she feels most at home, she reveals.
“I dressed really crazy at school. So obviously people weren’t necessarily going to be like, ‘You’re so cool.’ The red carpet was like a home for me—from a young age, the fashion community embraced me. The red carpet felt safe. I don’t feel judged on it—I feel free to express that side of myself. It’s such a creative outlet, something I could really take control of.”
Control is kind of her specialty. She handled the tricky transition from child actor to respected veteran (at 21, she’s been in the business for 19 years) with aplomb, showing she’s capable of playing difficult, complex roles with a skill that’s seen her garner Oscar buzz. And she loves the control that the new generation of Disney princesses exert over their own fates.
“When I was young I watched all the animated Disney films, and they’re beautiful in their own way, but the women aren’t extremely complex and they do rely on the men a lot,” says Fanning. “The modern fairytale with a twist is so important.”
And she’s increasingly able to control her own career, with more musicals in her sights after she garnered acclaim for her role as a young popstar in 2018’s Teen Spirit and singing all the songs herself.
It was on that film that she met her reported boyfriend, Max Minghella, who wrote and directed it. She won’t be drawn on whether she’s dating him, but praises his skills on-set and says he’s opened her mind to other possibilities for her future.
“It’s important to have ambition,” Fanning says. “I would love to write and direct something.”
She’s also keen to work with her older sister, fellow actor Dakota.
“We’d love to do something together… It would be great, because we don’t really talk about each other’s work.”
They do hang out as often as they can, though. “She knows what I’m thinking, and she’s the best advice giver. As we get older, we get to be good friends.”
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Current Projects
All the Bright Places (TBA)
Elle Fanning as Violet Markey

The story of Violet and Theodore, who meet and change each other’s lives forever. As they struggle with the emotional and physical scars of their past, they discover that even the smallest places and moments can mean something.

The Great (2020)
Elle Fanning as Catherine

A royal woman living in rural Austria during the seventeenth century is forced to choose between her own personal happiness and the future of Russia, when she marries an Emperor.

Maleficent 2 (2019)
Elle Fanning as Aurora

The complex relationship of Maleficent and Aurora continues to be explored as they face new threats to the magical land of the Moors.

Teen Spirit (2019)
Elle Fanning as Violet

Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition.

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