Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Disney. My Travel was paid for this trip.
A dream is a wish your heart makes, when your fast asleep! And so it was for Elle Fanning. Every girl dreams of being a princess and when I was little, I actually had the old Sleeping Beauty Book with 45 record and I would play it and dance around and sing, you know the song! Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorite Disney movies.
Today I am so excited to share with you my Elle Fanning Maleficent Interview. Maleficent opens this Friday in theaters. When Elle walked into the room her bubbling personality took over. She was bright, giddy and I didn’t realize how tall she actually really was. She had just turned 16 and answered each question with confidence. So what was it like for Elle to take on the role of a Disney Princess?
It was my dream. Whenever anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was little, 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 always go to the Disney store and I would buy her clothes and her shoes. To get to play this is really, like a dream.
Did you feel any pressure living up to Sleepy Beauty’s standards?
Yes! I watched the animated movie so many times because you want to do it justice. I feel like that Sleeping Beauty — they’ve already done it so perfectly, so I have to live up to that. I did watch the animated film right before I started filming. Aurora has a certain physicality because she’s drawn a certain way. I studied how she holds her hands in this manner, you know, with these little gestures and her posture and her feet. I tried to bring that charm to the role. But also, in ours 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, you know, just the cartoon.
We told Elle that she made Aurora very believable and kept us very attached to her. This is what she had to say about that.
Thank you. I tried to do that because I know, it could get boring if it’s oh, 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, you know, she’s kind of desperate to learn and she’s trying to figure things out, that would be nice. I wanted 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 normally everyone’s so terrified of her, but this little girl’s not. Which I think that is what makes them have this special bond that they have.
What was your favorite scene to shoot?
It was when I pricked my finger on the spindle because when I think about the original, that’s the scene I think of.It’s so iconic. That was the scene we did on the very last day of filming, so 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.
It scared me more than Maleficent did because of the way the lights were and it looked like Aurora was morphing into Maleficent with that green and purple light. So I was like, “We have to have those lights.” So they changed it and made it more of a green hue and then I had the trance. I think what I saw turned out good, right?
Can you tell us about your audition process and where you were when you found out you got the part?
Yeah, it’s funny because it all happened really fast, a lot faster than those things normally do. I heard there was going to be a Maleficent movie from the villains point of view and I knew there has to be an Aurora in there. So I was hoping to get to be that. They asked me to come in for a meeting with the director Rob, so I met with Rob and Linda. Linda was the writer. She wrote Beauty and the Beast, so I was excited to meet who wrote Beauty and the Beast too. We just talked, I think they just wanted to get a sense of me, kind of what I was like and they didn’t describe much of the story because they kind of already decided that they were going to give me the part. They told me I got it and handed over the script. So, like, handing over the script was like the coronation of everything. I read the script in the car and kind of got, like, you know, motion sickness while driving home. I was so excited.
Was it hard for you, without being able to see everything that was going on because of the special effects, to get where you needed to be in that moment?
It was more than I’d ever done before. On a set there is a stage and things are built on it, but everything is basically surrounding you. All the little fairies, those are just tennis balls or little lights and there is green and blue screens that you’re basically standing in, so you really have to imagine everything. It can also can get a little technical too, but then you don’t want your performance to be prohibited by the technicality of it. You want to make sure that you’re still playing your character. but you still have to be aware of the little hand that you’re holding, but you’re not holding a hand, it’s air. You have to make sure how you would hold it if it was there. We also had to do all this scanning of what we would do, like, whenever you had a hair change or a wardrobe change, you would stand on this turntable and stand completely still and they turn you inch by inch and scan your body. So then that makes, like, a virtual you into a computer and then they can take that virtual you and put you onscreen. So when I did all the floating and stuff, a lot of that was manipulated. I don’t know how it works, but they did it.
Do you feel bummed out that you got a princess role with no singing?
I know! I was thinking about that! I was like, I’m surely going to get to sing THE SONG, you know? I think that for this one it just didn’t happen. Lana Del Rey sings that song in our trailer, and it’s so perfect .Our movie’s more gothic, you know? So it’s nice to have her haunting voice, a different take on it than just the original one.