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The adorable little actress Elle Fanning
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» Learn all there is to know (so far) on this adorable little actress...
Name: Mary Elle Fanning
Date of Birth: April 9th 1998
Age: 9 years old
Lives: Los Angeles, USA
The story so far...
It all began in Conyers, Georgia, in 1999. When Elle's older sister, Dakota, showed talent for the performing arts at age five (Elle was just one) the family moved from their home in Georgia, to the bright lights of LA. Dakota and Elle's success have meant that the family still live in California. Their home is a Victorian-style located in Studio City, Los Angeles, and it is there that Elle lives, plays, and was once homeschooled by her grandmother, Mary-Jane. When the girls were younger, the home was a kids paradise, with "toys strewn everywhere". Now that they are older, both Dakota and Elle attend school with other kids their age, although they are still tutored when filming.
Both girls shared a love of performance from an early age. Dakota once shared the adorable story of how she first nurtured her performing skills by pretending to give birth to an infant Elle. As the girls grew older she still adopted a mothering role with her younger sister. "And she's a pretty nice Mom!" Elle once added happily, in an adorable interview with People magazine at the age of five.
When Dakota made her film debut in I Am Sam, in 2001, young Elle was the natural choice to play the younger version of Dakota's character. At the time, Elle was a tender 2 years, 10 months old: and thus, the pint sized blonde's performing career began. A year later, at age three, Elle again took on a role as the younger version of her sister's character, this time in Stephen Spielberg's sci-fi miniseries Taken.
But it was in 2003, at the age of four, that Elle won the first role independent of her sister, in the comedy Blockbuster Daddy Day Care. As little Jamie she was hailed as "almost excruciatingly adorable" by critics, and her talent as an individual actress was finally recognized. Elle revelled in the attention she received - "I love being an actress and I just love working with Eddie Murphy," she said at the press junket for Daddy Day Care. "He's so funny!"
Shortly after Daddy Day Care wrapped, Elle found herself on the set of The Door in the Floor, playing the daughter of a grieving couple undergoing separation. A highlight of the shoot was Elle's fifth birthday party, at which the director, Tod Williams, gave her a barbie doll as a gift. But he was not the only one to fall under her sweet charms - the rest of the cast, including Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges, have related just how fond of their little co-star they grew. "Elle is needless to say magically gifted. She is the most beautiful definition of a child. I simply fell in love with her," said Kim Basinger once filming had finished. Adding to her string of new roles was a bit part in Because of Winn Dixie, in which she plays the aptly named Sweetie Pie Thomas.
After this rush of movies, Elle spent a quieter year following her sixth birthday. She continuing her homeschooling, made some tiny appearances on TV shows and a small indie film called I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With, and also found time to model for some catalogues. She stayed out of the spotlight until early 2005, when Dakota landed a leading role in the children's film Charlotte's Web. Six-year-old Elle made the trip all the way to Melbourne, Australia, to support her big sister. This film became a real family affair when Elle snagged a small role for herself in the movie as well! Through the shoot, Elle kept her sister company on the realistic farmyard and fairground sets. She even celebrated her seventh birthday in Australia.
At seven years old, the world was Elle's oyster. Once returning back home to America, she went busily about auditioning for an impressive list of films and TV shows, including Babel, House: MD, Deja Vu, P.N.O.K., and Day 73 With Sarah. She spent the latter half of 2005 travelling the world to film her new roles - in the extreme heat of a Mexican desert for Babel, post-hurricane New Orleans for Deja Vu and the hub of New York. She was such a small dot who had already accomplished more than most would dare to dream, but Elle was only in it for the fun. As her mother explained of her daughters' love of acting, "we take pleasure in seeing the girls do something they enjoy."
Babel would prove to be a special role for Elle in more ways than one. It not only took her all the way to Mexico, letting her experience the fun and confusion of communicating in a foreign language, it also garnered the Best Picture award at the Golden Globe awards in January 2007. Elle has said of the role, "making this film was such a special time for me. I learned so much and had a great time. I feel really lucky." Despite her newfound worldliness, Elle proved that she is truly a child of Hollywood when one of the greatest joys of her seven years came from winning a face powder that had originally belonged to Marilyn Monroe - one of her idols. Her grandmother stayed all day at an auction of Monroe memorabillia to nab Elle a little piece of Hollywood history, which Dakota later showed off to Jay Leno on his talk show.
By the time Elle's eighth birthday rolled around, she already had more than five years acting experience under her belt, and it certainly showed as she continued to book roles steadily throughout 2006. Most intriguing of all was the major sci-fi event, The Lost Room. As little waif Anna Miller, Elle played of the most important characters of the series - a young girl in peril, lost to the magic of a mysterious room - opposite Peter Krause. She enjoyed filming this part for reasons close to her heart - as an onscreen father, Krause measured up quite well to the real deal! "He reminded me of my real dad," says Elle. "He talked to me all the time and would always open the van doors for me when we would go to set. We talked about our scenes together. He made everything fun."
Although she had been booking bit parts steadily throughout her childhood, it wasn't until her ninth birthday drew near that Elle's era of lead roles dawned. She began with an important part in Reservation Road as the grieving daughter of Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly, followed by the titular role in Phoebe In Wonderland, a magical and moving film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, and which saw Elle universally praised by critics for a "mesmerizing," "astonishing," "true breakthrough" performance. The film was also a chance for Elle to grapple with what it means to be different. She and the director spoke with children suffering from Tourette's syndrome to better understand her character, who herself is "spunky and weird - weird in a good way."
Next up she'll turn in a performance as Mary in the classic tale Nutcracker: The Untold Story, which is set for release next holiday season, and play a role that is most natural to her - sister to Dakota, in the film My Sister's Keeper, to lens early this year. So, the story doesn't end here! At only nine years old little Elle has a lot of life (and wonderful movies) to come. Watch this space - adorable Elle is one little girl going places.