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Mar 17, 2022
Elle Fanning On Giving Michelle Carter A Fair Shake In Wake Of Texting Suicide Case

“There’s a real version of her and also what the media did to her, that really villainized her in a way,” says Elle Fanning about her unbiased approach to portraying Michelle Carter, the 17 year-old Massachusetts girl who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after encouraging her 18-year old boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to commit suicide in July 2014.

The Hulu series, which made its world premiere here at SXSW on Saturday and drops on the service on March 29, was a topic too juicy to pass up for co-creators Patrick Macmanus and Liz Hannah who were sent Jesse Baron’s Aug. 2017 Esquire profile.

Fanning, who was joined in the Deadline studio by the EPs, Colton Ryan (who plays Roy) and Chloe Sevigny (who plays his mourning mother Lynn) described her tightrope walk in playing a real person, whose life has been turned upside down by the media, and a character that is written specifically on the page. Carter was initially sentenced to two-and-half years in prison. In January 2020, she was released after serving 11 months of her sentence due to good behavior. In the wake of the incident she’s kept a low profile.

“You can’t judge,” explains Fanning about portraying Carter, “Part of the reason why I like being an actor…is exploring the psychology behind, Michelle in this case, what could bring her to do the things that she did.”

“I felt very close to her and the young people in this story,” said Fanning who despite being a millennial and growing up with social media, is “still discovering” its impact.

The Girl From Plainville actress and EP added, “We’re seeing the effects of this now, and how modern this story truly is and how that effects your mental health (which) was something, I wanted to dive into.” [Source]

Tags: Interviews

Jan 12, 2022
Elle Fanning on the Tonight Show

Elle Fanning talks about a New Year’s fast-food potluck that didn’t happen, her TikTok account and Season 2 of The Great.

Tags: Interviews - Multimedia

Dec 16, 2021
Elle Fanning is What Makes ‘The Great’ Great

A former child star, Elle Fanning is now taking on a variety of hefty roles—from Empress to alleged murderer-by-text. The actress talks about leading the hit Hulu series The Great, launching a production company with her sister, and more as she fronts L’OFFICIEL’s Winter 2021 global issue.

Even un-made-up, on Zoom, at some ungodly hour in the morning on her one day off that week, Elle Fanning appears to actually be glowing. A steadily-working actor since before she was three years old, at 23 Fanning should, by all accounts, be an absolute menace. And yet, there’s nothing arch or knowing in her manner, no thunderous ego or terrifying riptide of emotional damage to contend with when I meet her virtually in early October. She is among the brightest stars of her generation of performers, and she is kind, loose, funny—in other words, utterly charming. And yes, she has the delicate bone structure of a Disney princess, which she has, in fact, played twice (in Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil): truly, it should be very easy to hate her. The only problem? She’s so nice.

Part of this preternatural ease within the Hollywood firmament may be attributed to her upbringing, which was amidst a family of professional athletes. The Fannings prized practice, she says; they understood performance. And her older sister, Dakota—also a child star, whom Elle began her acting career playing a younger version of in scenes for films like I Am Sam, and with whom Elle recently founded a production company—of course went first. Maybe it’s because she grew up on movie sets, says Tony McNamara, the celebrated writer who helms Hulu’s The Great, in which Fanning reprises her role this November as Catherine the Great, a fictionalized version of Russia’s 18th-century Empress. She has a good eye and great instincts, he says, and that’s not always the case. “She makes it look pretty effortless, but it’s a difficult pitch to get to as an actor,” McNamara says of the role, which requires everything from comic pratfalls and raunchy love scenes to handling various disembodied heads. McNamara calls her range “astonishing” and says, “There isn’t much I couldn’t imagine her doing in her career if she wants to. She’s the full package.”

For Fanning, part of the appeal in playing an iconic female leader was getting real. Catherine the Great is not “always the bravest or the strongest, and I think that’s why I was drawn to [her] in the first place,” Fanning says. “You see these feminist stories, and it’s like ‘We’re gonna show a girl on screen and she’s just brave all the time!’ That’s not real life; that’s not showing what a woman is. We can be annoying, and we can be wrong. And yes, she’s powerful, and she’s great, and she’s all those other things, but she has to learn how to contain it in a way that’s going to be productive.” In other words, she has to grow up, which is something Elle Fanning knows a thing or two about doing gracefully in public. “When you’re a child actor you’re normally used as the eyes of the viewer, the moral center of the scene. You’re just watching things happen,” Fanning says. But these days, all eyes are on her.

Here, Fanning speaks with L’OFFICIEL about her next projects, her aspirations beyond acting, and the 70,000 photos she has saved on her phone.
Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews

Nov 17, 2021
Elle Fanning & Nicholas Hoult on a Surprising Second Season of ‘The Great’ | Entertainment Weekly

Join Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult on the set of their digital cover shoot for The Great’s second season as they tease what’s in store!

Tags: Interviews - Multimedia

Nov 17, 2021
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult on their challenging and surprising second season

More sex, more schemes, and new famous faces: Hoult and Fanning raise a glass to what’s in store when the outrageous Hulu dramedy returns.

“He just does not get it.”

Elle Fanning is lamenting the fact that her The Great costar Nicholas Hoult did not laugh at her appropriately crude joke. The two, who play Russia’s Catherine the Great and Emperor Peter III in the outrageous Hulu dramedy series, have reunited for EW’s cover shoot in Savannah (as luck would have it, they’re both in Georgia filming different projects) having recently wrapped the Emmy-nominated show’s upcoming second season.

The joke in question involved another princess, albeit a fictional one — Cinderella. Instead of a slipper, though, this version was in need of a tampon. As Fanning tells it, Cinderella’s fairy godmother obliged but warned her that if she was not back by midnight, it would turn into a pumpkin. She goes to the ball and returns much later than midnight, much to the fairy godmother’s surprise. “Where on earth were you? How did you do it?” she asks incredulously. To which Cinderella replies with a wink, “Oh, I was with this guy. I think his name was Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.”

Hoult’s confusion is still written all over his face as Fanning recounts this. There’s a certain level of irony involved in the interaction, given that on The Great it is usually Hoult’s Peter saying ludicrous things to the bewilderment of Fanning’s more refined royal. Not to be outdone, though, Hoult will spend the rest of the shoot making japes and jests, particularly about a comically large slice of ginger in a prop cocktail.

This competitive dynamic exists between the actors both on and off screen. “The characters of Catherine and Peter are always trying to one-up each other,” Hoult explains. “Elle and I have a healthy habit of doing the same to each other as actors. Within scenes, we’re completely supportive and trying to get the best from each other — but also at the same time, battling within it and having fun.” Underscoring his point: As the two are vamping it up under the bright lights and the snapping cameras at the shoot, Hoult goes in for a kiss. Just before their lips can meet, he pops a macaron into his mouth with a cat-ate-the-canary grin.

It’s this battle of wills and wits that lies at the heart of season 2, all 10 episodes of which are available Friday. At the end of the critically acclaimed first season, Catherine’s big attempt to pull off a coup and unseat her husband was in full swing, and she had just seemingly sacrificed her lover Leo (Sebastian de Souza) to the cause — although the outcome of both of these events was not shown on screen. Oh, and there was the small matter of her being pregnant with Peter’s child. Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews

Nov 17, 2021
Elle Fanning: Jimmy Kimmel Live Interview

Elle talks about filming in Georgia, going on a haunted tour in a hearse, believing in ghosts, Jimmy’s theory about why they don’t exist, attending the LACMA Art & Film Gala, getting a selfie with the cast of “Squid Game,” bonding with Leonardo DiCaprio there, and her new Hulu show “The Great” about Catherine the Great.

Tags: Interviews - Multimedia

Apr 7, 2021
Kirsten Dunst, Rashida Jones, and Elle Fanning Are All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go

For W’s annual Directors Issue, Sofia Coppola cast her muses in a vision of 1980s glamour.

Back in the 1980s, when Sofia Coppola was a teenager, the pages of this magazine looked a little different than they do now. Flipping through early issues, the filmmaker-to-be was drawn, she said, to “society hostesses posing in their glamorous settings, in those ballgown skirts.” Today, those stately images, featuring the likes of Deeda Blair, Lee Radziwill, and Marella Agnelli in their well-appointed living rooms, offer a respite from our current domestic state.

“I think we’re all so starved for some beauty and fashion after being home,” Coppola, 49, said of her vision for the project you see here. “I wanted the whole thing to be feminine and fancy, because we’re too casual these days. The idea is that these women are lying around like they’re tired after trying on so many gowns.”

Coppola chose to feature three of her closest collaborators, with whom she’s worked throughout her career: frequent muse Kirsten Dunst, whom Coppola first directed in The Virgin Suicides, when Dunst was 16 years old; Elle Fanning, who appeared in Somewhere at age 11 and in The Beguiled at 18; and Rashida Jones, the protagonist of last year’s On the Rocks and a longtime behind-the-scenes influence.

With Coppola appearing on a tablet screen from Belize, where she had been spending part of the winter with her family, photographer Zoë Ghertner captured Dunst and Jones in a Beverly Hills home on an evocatively gloomy day. Photographing Fanning, who is based in London while filming the second season of The Great, was an entirely remote affair, with both Ghertner and Coppola appearing via Zoom while Fanning posed in de Gournay scion Hannah Cecil Gurney’s Battersea house, chosen for its riot of ornate floral wallpaper. Ghertner’s 2-year-old son sat on her lap for part of the shoot, and Coppola’s 14-year-old, Romy—who, as an infant, used to hang out on her mother’s lap while Coppola was on set—popped her head into the frame at one point to say hello. “It was like playing photo shoot,” Coppola said. “I was sitting in my pajamas, having tea.”

The resulting images are languid, luxurious, and a little bit spectral—as if the Lisbon sisters from The Virgin Suicides had grown up, married Tom Wolfe–ian Masters of the Universe, and discovered couture. As in Coppola’s aesthetically immaculate films, every detail was carefully chosen to evoke a specific feeling, from the flowers (“Eighties hostesses always had an important floral arrangement,” Coppola quipped) to the drape of each string of pearls. Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews - News

Sep 28, 2020
Elle Fanning: Long May She Reign

She’s played Barbies with Michelle Pfeiffer and paintball with Angelina Jolie, but the star of The Great remains almost shockingly grounded and warm. She talks about transitioning to truly adult roles—and bonding with sister Dakota—while quarantining in her childhood bedroom.

Elle Fanning has been acting since she was two. She’s 22 now, and there are estimates that she’s logged some 60 roles in her career, which would mean she’s already headed for Streep territory. During a Zoom call, I ask if this is true, or even logistically possible.

She tilts her head. “Could that be?” she wonders. “You know what? I did write it down one time, and I think I still have it on my phone.” She whips out a pink phone emblazoned with a sticker of the cartoon juggernaut Strawberry Shortcake. Her fingers fly.

The former child star recently triumphed with what she refers to as her “first woman role” as Catherine the Great in The Great—Hulu’s raunchy, rollicking, and, at times, gleefully ahistorical account of the monarch’s bold rise to power—but, at home, her life is reeling decidedly backward through time. Like many of us, Fanning has retreated to a safe space during the coronavirus pandemic. She’s cocooning in place at her mom’s house in the San Fernando Valley with her 26-year-old sister and fellow actor, Dakota; their mother; their grandmother; and the family’s elderly pet schnoodle (mini schnauzer-poodle), Lewellen.

“Yeah,” Fanning says with a laugh. “All the ladies.”

A year ago, she was…older, somehow. For her 21st birthday last spring, Fanning downed shots of tequila at a karaoke bar with a gaggle of friends and performed a raucous duet with Dakota of the Carrie Underwood anthem “Before He Cheats.” This year? Her mom got her a Strawberry Shortcake-themed birthday cake. (The show was a favorite of Fanning’s as a kid.) In a nod to the pandemic, Strawberry Shortcake wore a tiny pink mask.

“My mom got me a Strawberry Shortcake children’s coloring book one day from the grocery store too,” she adds, then winces. “I sound like I’m five.” Fanning shrugs. “But you know what? It’s a luxury that we’re all together and taking a breath.”

She’s speaking to me from her family’s home office. She looks offhandedly chic in a pink and yellow sweatshirt, her yellow-gold hair scraped into a bun, her skin bare. Slim gold hoops dangle from her ears (“I don’t have pierced ears, and I’ve been going on Etsy and finding cute clip-ons”), and a clutch of gold bracelets encircle her right wrist. We both admit to business on top, lockdown loungewear on the bottom—gray sweatpants for her, black “joggers” for me, which have yet to see a jog. Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews

Sep 9, 2020
Elle Fanning’s Bright Future

The actor’s darkly comic portrayal of a young Catherine the Great could be the role that defines her. With a second season in the works and a burgeoning career as a producer, things are heating up for fashion’s favorite polymath

Since she started working in the movie business a whopping 20 years ago, Elle Fanning, who turned 22 earlier this year, has collaborated with some of Hollywood’s most exciting directors. Among them: David Fincher for 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Sofia Coppola for 2010’s Somewhere and 2017’s The Beguiled; J.J. Abrams for 2011’s Super 8; Mike Mills for 2016’s 20th Century Women; and Alejandro González Iñárritu for 2006’s Babel.

But Fanning’s first major role in television may wind up being her career-defining moment. In The Great, she stars as Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-ruling female leader, opposite Nicholas Hoult as the dastardly Peter III. Alongside Normal People, the series became one of Hulu’s biggest streaming successes during the pandemic, and the platform says it will commission a second season.

As viewers gleefully discovered, this is not your average, run-of-the-mill Catherine the Great — nor anything at all like the one portrayed last year by Helen Mirren in HBO’s limited series. No, this is Tony McNamara’s Catherine the Great. You might know McNamara because he co-wrote 2018’s The Favourite, which won Olivia Colman an Oscar. The Great is very much in the mold of that film, meaning it’s hilarious and absurd, offering a side of Fanning we haven’t gotten to see much during the last two decades. Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews

Aug 12, 2020
How ‘The Great’ Star Elle Fanning Handled Producing, Comedy and That Peeing Scene

Two years after director Yorgos Lanthimos turned Tony McNamara’s script “The Favourite” into a twisted, Oscar-winning look at the British court of Queen Anne, McNamara himself has applied the same sensibility to 18th-century Russia in “The Great.” The Hulu series stars Nicholas Hoult as the egotistical but inept Peter III and Elle Fanning as his young, naïve wife Catherine, who would go on to lead Russia for more than 30 years.

The opening credits to each episode call “The Great” “an occasionally true story,” and certainly there’s a distinctly modern sensibility and a load of deliberate anachronisms in the portrayal of the dysfunctional Russian court. The series is blackly comic feast centered on the delicious feuding between Hoult, played by “The Favorite” vet Nicholas Hoult, and Catherine, played by Elle Fanning with a breezy combination of innocence and steel. Fanning, who also served as an executive producer on the series, spoke to TheWrap about “The Great” on the day that Hulu renewed it for a second season.

You got involved with this before it actually was a TV series, right?
Yes, that’s true. I was sent a film script, which was written by Tony based off a (2008) play that he put on in Australia. Tony, I guess, had been thinking of me, but the young Catherine was just a small kind of sliver in that big script, because it really spanned her entire life.

And there’s so much information there, it just seemed right that this should be a television series. And I was allowed to hop on board as an executive producer of the show before it was picked up. It was stepping into that role behind the scenes, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but then also getting to play an incredible character with the best script I’ve ever read. Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews

Aug 12, 2020
With ‘The Great,’ Elle Fanning Is Ready to Take the Throne

A grown-up child star finding her creative power in playing one of history’s most cunning female rulers — the metaphor would be a bit on the nose if it weren’t crafted as thoughtfully as Elle Fanning’s portrayal of Catherine II, the longest-reigning Empress of Russia, on The Great.

The actress steps strikingly into the Golden Era of the empire’s 18th century Enlightenment on the lauded Hulu series, though it takes her character a moment to see past the glitz and glamour. “She starts out as this romantic and very optimistic young girl,” Fanning tells ET of her Catherine, scripted to cunning perfection by The Favourite screenwriter Tony McNamara, who created the series, “and basically is slapped in the face with reality and realizes, ‘OK, this is not the life that I wanted, so I’m going to make the life that I want.'”

The Great’sfirst season portrays just a fragment of Catherine’s fictionalized story — spanning from the moment she meets her husband-to-be, Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult, who expertly toes the line between stupidity and sadism), to the moment she makes her move to overthrow him and take the country for her own. The part was originally conceived as a smaller section in a McNamara play encompassing Catherine’s entire life, but carving out a few years of her early reign — just as The Crown does with Queen Elizabeth II — allows viewers to dive deeper into the details of the monarchy. Unlike The Crown, however, The Great plays fast and loose with historical accuracy, with colorblind casting and a bawdy, Favourite-esque tone.

“Historians probably don’t like us very much, the way that we tell it,” Fanning admits with a laugh. “I did a bit of research, but to be honest, that wasn’t where my attention mainly was. I learned that the real Catherine the Great invented the roller coaster and I was like, OK, she’s a fun person. Seems like someone I would like to be friends with.” Continue reading  »

Tags: Interviews


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The Great (TV Series)

Role: Catherine
Release Date: 2020
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.

The Nightingale

Role: Isabelle
Release Date: 2022
The lives of two sisters living in France are torn apart at the onset of World War II. Based on Kristin Hannah's novel 'The Nightingale'.

The Girl from Plainville (TV Series)

Role: Michelle Carter
Release Date: 2022
A young woman from a small town in Massachusetts is accused of persuading her boyfriend to commit suicide.

Francis and the Godfather

Role: Ali MacGraw
Release Date: 202?
Young director Francis Ford Coppola faces off against producer Robert Evans during the production of 'The Godfather.'
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