Disclosure: This event and trip to LA was an all expense paid journey sponsored by Disney. All thoughts, experiences and opinions are 100% my own!
Last week, I travelled to LA to attend a press junket with 24 other bloggers for the film Maleficent. This included a press screening of the film, and a sit down interview with several cast members (see my Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) interview here) including the adorable Elle Fanning who plays Princess Aurora.
You might know Elle from her starring roles in Phoebe in Wonderland, Somewhere, and We Bought a Zoo. She is only 16 years old, but quite honestly, one of the most composed and pleasant 16 year olds that I have met. She is as darling in person as she looks on screen, and I can’t think of a better fit for this part.
She epitomizes youth: bright eyed and bushy tailed. (jealous!) I was impressed with her understanding of her character, and the research that she put into this role. Like Angelina, she too showed a strong passion for her character and the events that took place in this film. Her youthful mannerisms were refreshing, while her surprisingly mature conversational skills were impressive!
I loved this interview with her, and I think that you will enjoy it as well. She really is a delightful young lady, as you will see:
Q : What is it like taking on the role of a Disney princess?
“It was my dream. When anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, “A Disney princess,” because that’s the ultimate goal in life, I think, for any young girl.” ~Elle Fanning
EF : It was my dream. When anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, “A Disney princess,” because that’s the ultimate goal in life, I think, for any young girl, especially Sleeping Beauty. She was always my favorite one because I felt like she was the one that I looked like the most. So I would go to the Disney store and I would buy her clothes and her shoes and so to get to play this is, it’s really the dream.
Q : Did you feel any pressure living up to Sleepy Beauty’s standards?
EF : Yeah, obviously I watched the animated movie so many times and it’s like you want to do it justice because it’s Sleeping Beauty, and they’ve already done it so perfectly. I have to live up to that. So I did watch the animated film right before I started filming. She has a certain physicality because she’s drawn a certain way. She holds her hands with these little gestures and her posture and her feet.
So I tried to bring that charm to the role. But also there is a little more to her because she’s not just a delicate princess. She has some strength and she actually shows real emotion. She gets sad and feels betrayal because a lot of secrets are hidden from her. So, it was nice in ours that we could make her more human than just the cartoon.
Q : Aurora was so innocent, to the point of being naïve. How different is the character from Elle?
“I don’t think any child can be that sheltered in our time. So I guess I’m different in that way, from her.” ~Elle Fanning
EF : Right. Well she is, because she has been trapped. She’s in this little cottage, you know. She doesn’t know the outside world, and she was raised by fairies.
I guess for me, I’m still as happy and as curious as she is, I like to soak up a lot of information, so we’re very similar in that way. But I guess, it is exaggerated as a fairy tale. I don’t think any child can be that sheltered in our time. So I guess I’m different in that way, from her.
Q : I think you made her very believable and you kept us very attached to her.
EF : Thank you. I tried to do that because I know it could get boring if that girl is just the one who’s happy and doesn’t know anything, you know? But I thought that to bring a sense to her that she’s always kind of desperate to learn and she’s trying to figure things out, that’d be nice. And to show that she hasn’t been taught to be scared yet. She doesn’t know to be scared of things that look different.
So when she does see Maleficent, she’s not scared of her, which is very strange for Maleficent because everyone’s so terrified of her, but this little girl is not.
Q : What was your favorite scene to shoot?
EF : Mine was when I pricked my finger on the spindle because when I think about the original, that’s the scene I think of. And so, to film that scene, it was the very last day of filming, everything was building its way up to that monumental moment. I wanted to do it right, you know, everything has to be a certain way, because that scene impacted me a lot when I was little.
Q : Can you tell us about your audition process and where you were when you found out you got the part?
“I read the script in the car and I got motion sickness reading it while driving home, but I did not stop. I just kept going. I was so excited.” ~Elle Fanning
EF : It’s funny because it all happened really fast. A lot faster than these things normally do. I heard there was going to be a Maleficent movie, so I was like, “oh my gosh, I hope I get to in it!” and then they asked me to come in for a meeting. So I met with Rob (the director) and Linda (the writer). She wrote Beauty and the Beast, so I was excited to meet her.
I went and had a meeting with them, I think they just wanted to get a sense of me. They didn’t describe much of the story beause they kind of had already decided that they were going to give me the part. So they told me that I got it, and then they handed over the script. So, them handing over the script was like the coronation of everything. I read the script in the car and I got motion sickness reading it while driving home, but I did not stop. I just kept going. I was so excited!
I really enjoyed this interview with Elle and I so enjoyed her character in this movie. I am excited to watch her in years to come, as I am sure we will see many more great roles from her!
Remember, Maleficent is rated PG and hits theaters May 30th, 2014!!
If you haven’t already, make sure to read my interview with Angelina Jolie, and make sure to follow @Maleficent on Twitter for the latest updates, and make sure to like MALEFICENT on Facebook so that you can keep up with all of the Maleficent excitement!
A a very, very special thank you to the folks at Disney for this wonderful and once in a life time opportunity that I will NEVER forget!