The Door in the Floor
“What’s the best part of a movie? I love to know what my name is. It’s just so fun. That’s the first thing I ask. It’s just fun because you have a different name in every movie.” Elle Fanning on acting
An American child actress of Scandinavian descent, Elle Fanning, little sister of actress Dakota Fanning, has become probably the most accomplished preschooler of her generation thanks to her astonishing skill, endearing charm and a sassy liveliness she brought to each of her many diverse roles to date. Starting out in several appearances as a “younger Dakota,” Elle finally emerged as an independent performer in the comedy hit Daddy Day Care (2003), and earned success a year later with her role as Ruth in the drama The Door in the Floor. Since then, she has acted in such movies as Because of Winn Dixie (2005), I Want Someone to Eat Cheese with (2006), Bibel (2006), Danzel Washington’s Deja Vu (2006), The Nines (2007) and Reservation Road (2007). She will also be cast in two films due for 2008 release, Gideon’s Gift and Vivaldi. She also has appeared in several television projects, more recently the miniseries “The Lost Room” (2006).
Off camera, in 2006, Elle donated a signed photo to Rocky Stone to be given away as a prize in a Dakota Fanning Contest to help less fortunate children as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign. She loves playing soccer, and once learned the piano.
Childhood and Family:
The second daughter of Joy and Steve Fanning, Mary Elle Fanning was born on April 9, 1998, in Conyers, Georgia. She is the younger sister of actress Dakota Fanning (born February 23, 1994). When Elle was one year old, the family moved their home to Los Angeles in order to facilitate her sister’s big step into the showbiz. Like Dakota, she has always gone by her middle name.
Like her older sister, Dakota, Elle Fanning also developed a love of performance from an early age. She had her first taste in front of the film camera at age 2 years and 11 months old, when she was cast as the younger version of her sister in the successful drama I Am Sam (2001), as Lucy, age 2 years. She went on to appear as younger Dakota, this time as Allison Clarke, age 3 years, in Stephen Spielberg’s sci-fi miniseries “Taken” (2002), but it was in 2003 that the 4-year-old girl won her first individual role. She was cast as little Jamie in the Eddie Murphy blockbuster Daddy Day Care, a performance that was singled out by critics as “almost excruciatingly adorable” and earned her recognition as an independent actress.
Elle followed it up by making guest appearances on television shows, including “Judging Amy” and “CSI: Miami” (both 2003). She also appeared in a 2004 episode of “CSI: NY,” as Jenny Como. It was also in 2004 that the talented actress scored even a bigger break when she starred as Ruth, the small sister of the leading character, on the wonderfully complex drama The Door in the Floor. There, she shared the screen with Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges. Meanwhile, she also appeared in commercials for Target, Smucker’s, Toyota and Target Christmas (all 2003), as well as did some print and modeling work for Vogue Bambini Magazine (2003), American Girl Magazine (2004) and Luans Children’s Dresses (2004).
The following year saw Elle star with Danny Glover in the 18-minute short P.N.O.K. and make her forth feature, Because of Winn Dixie, in which she had a small role as Sweetie Pie Thomas. She teamed up with director/writer Jeff Garlin for the comedy/romance I Want Someone to Eat Cheese with (2006), acted in the Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett drama/thriller Bibel (2006) and appeared with Danzel Washington in Deja Vu (2006). The same year, TV audience could found the child star starring as Anna Miller in the sci-fi miniseries “The Lost Room” and making guest appearances in some TV series, including “House M.D” and “Law & Order: SVU.”
More recently, the 9-year-old actress can be seen as Noelle in The Nines, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2007. She is now in post-production of the drama/thriller Reservation Road (2007), starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly and Mira Sorvino, the drama Gideon’s Gift (2008), opposite Christian Slater, and the biography/musical Vivaldi (2008), starring Joseph Fiennes in the title role.