Mary Elle Fanning, better known by her screen name Elle Fanning is a multiple award-winning American TV and film actress who is known for her roles in Hollywood films like Phoebe in Wonderland (2008), We Bought a Zoo
(2011), About Ray (2015) and The Neon Demon
(2016). For her role in the sci-fi drama, Super 8, Fanning received wide critical acclaim as well as numerous award nominations including the Young Artist Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, and a special Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival.
Born in Conyers, Georgia, Fanning is the daughter of Heather Joy, a former professional tennis player and Steven J. Fanning who played minor league baseball and later worked as an electronics salesman in Los Angeles. The actress who has Irish, German, English and French lineage comes from a family that are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. The actress` elder sister, Dakota Fanning is a popular American actress and model. Speaking about her celebrity sister, Elle Fanning said `we are just normal sisters and we both go to school and play together.`
Elle Fanning started acting from a very young age; she made her feature film debut with I Am Sam (2001) when she was just three years old. The actress portrayed the role of `Lucy Diamond Dawson,` the younger version of Dakota Fanning
`s character in the film. The film featuring Sean Penn
, Michelle Pfeiffer
and Diane West in the lead roles received negative to mixed reviews but it emerged to be a box office hit. Post her debut film appearance, director Steve Carr
cast Fanning alongside Eddie Murphy
, Jeff Garlin
, Steve Zahn
and Regina King
in the American comedy film Daddy Day Care. The film, which was based on the lives of two men who start a day care center after being laid off received negative critical reviews but it emerged to be a commercial hit; it grossed about 164.4 million USD.
In 2004, the actress starred in the Tod Williams directed American drama film, The Door in the Floor, which was based on the 1998 novel, A Widow for One Year by John Irving. The film featuring Jeff Bridges
, Kim Basinger
, Jon Foster and Bijou Phillips in the lead roles received wide critical appreciation, with Peter Travers, a film critic from Rolling Stone stating, "It is an extraordinary film in every way, from the pitch-perfect performance to the delicate handling of explosive subject matter."
With no significant release to her name in 2005, the actress starred in the American drama Babel directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The film, which was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival was selected to compete for the Palme d`Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. After its theatrical release, the film not only won wide critical acclaim but also won several awards including the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Following the success of Babel, Fanning appeared in films like I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2006), Reservation Road
(2007) and The Nines (2007).
After working for almost seven years in supporting or smaller roles, Elle Fanning made her debut as the lead actress in the 2008 film Phoebe in Wonderland, which eventually became one of the most successful films of her career. The independent film directed by Daniel Barnz
and co-starring Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson
, Bill Pullman
and Campbell Scott
was screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. She rounded off the year with yet another hit, the American romantic fantasy film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
, which was directed by the stalwart director David Fincher
. The film starring Brad Pitt
, Cate Blanchett
, and Tilda Swinton
received 13 Academy Award nominations and won three of them for Best Makeup, Best Visual Effects and Best Direction.
In 2009, the actress made her debut as a voice artist in the Hong Kong - American animated action-comedy film Astro Boy
, which was loosely based on the manga series of the same name by the Japanese writer Osamu Tezuka. The film, despite having an ensemble cast including Freddie Highmore
, Kristen Bell
, Eugene Levy
, Nathan Lane
, Nicolas Cage
, Charlize Theron
and Matt Lucas
failed at the box office. From 2010 to 2014, the actress had 10 films including The Nutcracker in 3D
(2010), Super 8
(2011), We Bought a Zoo
(2011), Young Ones (2014), Maleficent
(2014), and The Boxtrolls
(2014). The actress had two releases in 2015, first of which was the Gaby Dellal directed American drama film, About Ray co-starring Naomi Watts
, Susan Sarandon
, Tate Donovan
and Linda Emond
, an American biographical dram film directed by Jay Roach
. Whilst the former did not garner any attention, the latter got positive critical reviews.
Elle Fanning had quite a busy year in 2016 as she had four releases, namely The Neon Demon
, 20th Century Women, Ballerina
and Live by Night
. Whilst 20th Century Women and Ballerina got mixed to positive reviews, the other two received mixed to negative reviews. The actress` 2017 releases include Sidney Hall, an American drama film directed by Shawn Christensen
and How to Talk to Girls at Parties, a British-American sci-fi romantic-comedy film co-starring Nicole Kidman
, Alex Sharp and Ruth Wilson
. Her 2019 releases include the sequel to the 2014 film, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Elle Fanning started acting in TV series when was a kid; in her maiden TV appearance she played the role of Allie Keys in one of the episodes of science fiction miniseries Taken in 2002. The actress was just three years old when she bagged the role. The following year, Fanning starred in single episodes of two TV series, Judging Amy and CSI: MIAMI. Her most prominent role in a TV series came in 2006 when she starred in the popular American crime drama series, Criminal Minds featuring Many Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, Lola Glaudini and Shemar Moore in the lead roles.