Observations: Moving out of the ‘sister’ hood

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The Independent Culture

The days of Elle Fanning being mistaken for older sister Dakota are coming to an end. She recently got the chance to stepout of Dakota’s sizeable movie star shadow at the Venice Film Festival, where Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, in which she co-starswith Stephen Dorff, won the Golden Lion. Meeting at LA’s Sunset Tower hotel, Elle is easy going, giggly, ethereal, a self described“girly girl” who loves Beyoncé, ballet, vintage clothing and Marilyn Monroe.

Being 12, Fanning doesn’t identify with Monroe’s status as tragic Hollywood figurehead, but the fact that “she’s sooo pretty, Ilove her short and curly hair – she was different for her time.” She even owns a jar of the blonde bombshell’s face cream andtracked down the room that Monroe stayed in when Somewhere shot last summer at the Chateau Marmont.

Coppola’s tale of a waning movie star and his estranged daughter left ample room for its two stars to improvise. “A lot of the movie was just usbeing us,” explains Fanning. “It was like playing.” To establish their easy rapport, Dorff would pick Fanning up from school and cheered her on at a volleyballmatch. As for Coppola: “She was my big sister in a way…”

Fanning has played cherubic moppets in a slew of quality street productions like Babel and Reservation Road. Although sheandDakota are “really close”, as Elle tells it, she’s the “wild, messy, crazy one” while Dakota is a neatfreak perfectionist.

“She’s very determined – all older sisters are like that, right? Trying to control the little sister…”

It remains to be seen whether Elle’s career can match Dakota’s, but her sweet, natural performance in Somewhere has already landed her starring rolesin new projects by Cameron Crowe, J.J. Abrams and Francis Ford Coppola. Some day, Dakota may have to look up to her sister in more ways than one.

‘Somewhere’ is out next Friday.

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