There’s definitely a place for Dakota’s younger sister ‘Somewhere’
When we say Elle Fanning is emerging from the shadow of her older sister, we mean it literally as well as figuratively. At 12, she’s already a willowy 5’6”. “Dakota’s 5’4” and they said she’s done growing,” says Elle, with a hint of sisterly competitiveness. “I like being tall –5’10” would be perfect.” She’s matching her sibling in the precocious talent stakes too, finding her spot in the limelight with a praised performance in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere.
Settling into a booth at LA’s Sunset Tower hotel with her grandmother in the lobby (she chaperones Elle while mum looks after Dakota), Elle’s a giggly, unaffected delight, a free spirit dressed in vintage blouse, shorts and gold sandals. “I love vintage,” coos Fanning. “Even my bedroom’s a bit Victorian – lots of bows…”
Fanning’s audition for Coppola’s film involved hanging out at the infamous Chateau Marmont with the director and Stephen Dorff, who plays her fast-living, film-star father. The shoot was equally laid-back, with Coppola’s barebones script leaving plenty of room for Dorff and Fanning to improvise. “I feel like Sofia is my big sister. We like girly stuff, we talk fashion. She’s calm and soft, and can get her point across without being loud…”
As for her real big sister, Elle describes her relationship with Dakota as “Normal. I’m a little free – she likes things perfect. Older sisters are like that, right? Trying to control the little sister…” Fanning grins mischievously but looks up to Dakota and the two are currently searching for a project together. Born in Georgia to a sporting clan (mom wanted them to be tennis pros), Elle followed Dakota out to Hollywood as a toddler and proved herself equally as gifted, appearing in the likes of Reservation Road, and as a troubled girl tormented by OCD in Phoebe In Wonderland. “I love being so many different people. It’s sort of endless…” Elle insists she’s just like any other girl into Beyoncé and Gwen Stefani. Ask what her perfect day would be and she brims over with excitement. “Oh my god, I’d go to my favourite restaurant, the Artisan Cheese Gallery, and then dance ballet for two hours. I’m always dancing and twirling around…”