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:
and that's just the more 'starry' of the bunch.
She's also worked with directors like:
Francis Ford Coppola
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu
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.