Monday, July 20, 2015

The Rise of Elle Fanning!


Jessica Chastwho?  Alicia Vikanwhat?  Jennifer Lawwhy?  All these young actresses who burst onto the scene with a slew of successful films that become the talk of the town and yet, from what I've seen, none of them can hold a candle to what a certain young actress is doing with her career.  Yes, I've made it pretty well known here that I am in full support of all things Elle Fanning, and the other day while browsing IMDB I happened to see her roster of films for the next two years, and I have to say that this girl is KILLING IT.  Not that she wasn't already, but her resume is rapidly becoming one of the most impressive in all of Hollywood.

Let's just break this down for a minute.


Since starting her acting career at the ripe old age of 2, back in 2001's I Am Sam, Dakota's younger, more talented (and ambitious) sister has worked with actors like:

Cate Blanchett
Jeff Bridges
Patricia Clarkson
Matt Damon
Scarlett Johansson
Angelina Jolie
Sean Penn
Brad Pitt
Eddie Murphey
Joaquin Phoenix 
Denzel Washington

and that's just the more 'starry' of the bunch.

She's also worked with directors like:

J.J. Abrams
Francis Ford Coppola
Sofia Coppola
Cameron Crowe
David Fincher
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu
Sally Potter
Tony Scott

That's quite a list of names already, but the greatness in what Elle has done here is that she hasn't just worked with great talent (and, I'll be honest, not every 'film' she's done has been great), but she's established such range and depth of talent in these roles, especially this current decade.  While she was laying the groundwork for a respectable career by playing the 'little kid' in a lot of her early work, she started to show true spark early on, making a lasting impression with few words in films like The Door in the Floor and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  

And then this happened:


Yes, Sofia Coppola, the patron saint of getting so much out of young actresses, plucked Elle out of the land of 'so much potential' and plopped her into the world of 'OMG look at her act'.  With such maturity, Fanning stole every scene with eyes that said so much, spunk and spirit that filled the screen and an understanding of the themes that translated into an astonishing, star-making turn.

And she hasn't let us since.

Following that up with her work in Super 8, Fanning proved that she has rich depth as an actress.  Just watch this scene.


The way she switches from 'real kid' to 'actress' is uncanny here, so natural and so aware and so lived in.  As much as I adored her in Somewhere, it was here where she became this force for me, this real actressing entity.  She completely wipes the floor with everyone here, and what is so brilliant is how well she handles every emotion shift and the way she can float in and out of genre is outstanding.  From the relaxed pacing of a Coppola film to the frenetic action flick to the bottled intensity that is her stunning performance in Ginger & Rosa (like, for real), she can do it all.

I'll admit, she was horribly underdeveloped in Maleficent, but for what she was asked to do, which was basically play coy and childish, she nailed it.

But, her career ascendance is only beginning.

With two films slated for release this year, and seven scheduled for next year (and one slated for 2017), Fanning is proving herself in-demand and is establishing herself as a real presence in film.  What is so great is that she's not merely working in a bunch of franchise films but she's actually choosing smart projects, working with interesting directors and snatching up some truly inspired characters.

This year she'll be working alongside Susan Sarandon and Naomi Watts in Three Generations, where she plays a teenager transitioning from female to male.  Then she'll be seen alongside Bryan Cranston and Diane Lane in the Dalton Trumbo biopic.  Next year it gets even crazier.  She'll play an alien in John Cameron Mitchell's How to Talk to Girls at Parties, where she'll share the screen with Nicole Kidman.  Then she'll be seen as Mary Shelley in Wadjda director, Haifaa Al-Mansour's A Storm in the Stars.  She'll be working with Mike Mills' (who directed Beginners) 70's romance 20th Century Women and then in Ben Affleck's Argo follow up, Live by Night (which also stars Zoe Saldana and Sienna Miller and is adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel).  She'll be working with Louis Garrel in The Dancer, where she'll be portraying Isadora Duncan, protege to famed dancer Loi Fuller.  

But let's not pretend we aren't most anticipating this:


Nicolas Winding Refn isn't the most reliable director (he's hit or miss for me), but he's a director with clear vision and unique style and really the kind of director that young actors and actresses should want to work with.  Neon Demon sounds incredible.  This bizarre story of an aspiring model who's very youth is devoured by woman who want what she has is ripe with potential, and the production shots are GORGEOUS.

So, in two years she'll be giving us a huge range of performances that go from drama to comedy, from sci-fi to horror, from topical to romantic and everything in-between, not to mention the physical transformation she'll undergo in films like Three Generations (see opening image) to the physicality of a role like that in The Dancer.

It's time for Elle Fanning to conquer the world.  It's time.

26 comments:

  1. Hmm I tried posting and it didn't take...let's try again. She is truly coming into her own ahead of Dakota Fanning. It seems that once Dakota grew up a bit, people went very negative on Dakota. With all the films she is going to be in it reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch

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    1. Quite a few actors have those years where their status as an actor/celebrity just clicks. That could be Elle's 2016.

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  2. I know people were in awe of Dakota but I thought Elle is a more natural actress. She's been killing it as of late. Plus, she is very grounded and not into the Hollywood thing. She knows she's still a kid and wants to act like it. Somewhere is my favorite performance from her so far and I really liked her in Super 8, Babel, The Door in the Floor, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and We Bought a Zoo.

    I'm so eager for The Neon Demon. Her in a film by Nicolas Winding Refn w/ my boo Jena. That is $$$$$$$$$$

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    1. YES! So not into that Hollywood thing, which is why I love her so much. And, I forgot that Jena was in Neon Demon. Yet another reason to be excited.

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  3. She's gonna be bigger than her sister!

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    1. First Fanning with an Oscar!

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    2. Yeah. I also got a kick out of your intro when you said "Jennifer Lawwhy?". Before, I was ga-ga over her. But now, her "I like to brag about fast food and I get star struck" shtick is getting old. I do think she's a good actress, but we'll see where her career goes after her franchise and David O. Russell work. I love the franchise work Lawrence does, but I love how Fanning's slate of films are more eclectic.

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    3. I like Lawrence and I find her kind of likable in her goofiness, but she's not remarkably talented or anything...I mean...she's good, but there are countless young actresses in her age range with far more talent, Fanning included. Johansson, Mulligan, Seydoux, Stone...just to name a few, and yet AMPAS is obsessed with this one for some reason.

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    4. I think it's because of her collaboration with David O. Russell who is now in the "Academy sweetheart" club. Plus, she makes Hollywood a ton of dough. So, it's likely politics that always have her recognized over the actresses you just mentioned.

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    5. Yup. I agree. Politics are too heavily prominent in AMPAS.

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  4. I'm super psyched about Neon Demon. I read some rumours about what the film is actually about and why it's really a horror and it sounds so awesome

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    1. It's gonna be insane! Can't wait!

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  5. The Neon Demon sounds fantastic. Elle Fanning, she is maybe the best actress of her generation along with Saoirse Ronan. She is just so natural and doesn't seem to be that affected by the Hollywood machine. I've seen her interviews, and she's just adorable and amazing. No actress could have done what she did in Somewhere, not even Dakota Fanning.

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    1. So natural. I'm glad you mentioned her interviews. I noticed that too, especially around her Somewhere promotional tour. She's so intune with who she is as a person, so natural and light and easy.

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  6. As angry as I was with Only God Forgives, Neon Demon does sound interesting. (And a little like Starry Eyes) I'll see it. I don't think Elle is more talented than Dakota, but she's definitely close. Easily one of the best actresses her age.

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    1. I keep trying to forget that Only God Forgives actually happened.

      I loved Dakota, but Elle is, in my eyes, the more gifted talent.

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  7. I freaking love Elle Fanning!!!! <3

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  8. I like Elle Fanning a lot, especially in Super 8. Looking forward to seeing where her career goes from here.

    Jessica, Alicia and Jennifer are still better though. :P

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    1. Honestly, I think that Elle is the greater of that group, but I'm not familiar enough with Vikander to include her completely at this point. I think that Elle's performances in Somewhere and Super 8 topple everything that either of Chastain or Lawrence has done at this point, to be honest. Chastain had a great 2011, but after that I haven't seen anything I've cared about, and Lawrence finally won me over with Silver Linings Playbook...but not enough honestly. Like, it was her best and yet it still wasn't mind-blowing.

      And I'm happy that Lawrence won the Oscar, because she was the best of the lineup, but I don't get her overall popularity.

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  9. Great post Drew! I was impressed with Elle in Somewhere and Super 8 though I thought she was meh in Maleficent. Amazing what she's accomplished in such a young age though, I mean 17 years old and she's worked with all those stars & directors AND churned out memorable performances. Man, most people haven't even begun to figure out what they wanted to do at her age.

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    1. Yeah, at 17 she really has carved out such a rich career for herself, and her 2016 looks REMARKABLE!

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  10. Wow! I didn't realize she had so many promising projects on the way. She just misses my BSA lineups for Somewhere and Super 8, so here's hoping she gets a CinSpec nom (win?) in the near future.

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    1. Yeah, her 2016 looks massive! I can't wait to see each and every one of those films!

      She needs a Fisti win ASAP!

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  11. Looks like Three Generations is getting a VOD release doesn't it? Or at least that's the rumor. Shame, I was really hoping it would break out.

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    1. Yeah, I'm saddened by that, but I had cooled on it's chances for Oscar consideration...so now I'm just excited that it'll be easier for me to see in a timely fashion.

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