Elle Fanning describes herself as someone who is always smiling, laughing and is generally happy. It’s the way audiences have come to know her in the media and in her films. But she was surprised to learn how much she related to her character in her latest film, “Teen Spirit,” despite playing a girl who isn’t any of those things.
In “Teen Spirit,” the directorial debut of “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Max Minghella, Fanning plays a Polish, aspiring teen pop star who is tested once she enters into a singing competition. The film features original songs from a variety of indie musicians and pop stars, including Robyn, Grimes, Katy Perry and more.
But for Fanning, the part tested her as well in how she related to a character she considers unlikable.
“It’s funny that I related to her because I think when outside people, what they think of me as is not this character. I smile a lot, I laugh a lot, and in this movie, we really don’t do that very much at all,” Fanning told TheWrap founder and CEO Sharon Waxman at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I felt so connected to Violet. I feel like I grew up a lot also after the making of this film as well, getting to play her, and also knowing that you don’t necessarily have to play a character that is likable.”
Fanning added that in addition to putting on a Polish accent for the part, she enjoyed tapping into the grittier aspects of her character.
“I think that’s why I love her. She’s not necessarily your typical girl in school that would be super popular. She’s harsh,” Fanning said. “And to make someone who has that edge into a hero in the film, that’s something that I loved. I was excited, I don’t think I’ve ever played a character like that before.”
Watch a clip of our interview with Fanning and director Minghella above.