Mary Elle Fanning (born April 9, 1998) is an American actress, model, and singer.
She is best known for her recent works in a number of independent films, and her portrayal as Aurora in the Maleficent film series.
As the younger sister of actress Dakota Fanning, she made her film debut as the younger version of her sister’s character in the drama film I Am Sam (2001). As a child actress, she appeared in a string of films including Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), Babel (2006), Phoebe in Wonderland (2008), and Somewhere (2010).
Fanning’s breakthrough came in 2011 with her starring role in J. J. Abrams’ science-fiction film Super 8, for which her performance was praised by critics and earned her a Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival. In the wake of this success, she had leading roles in the films We Bought a Zoo (2011) and Ginger & Rosa (2012). She portrayed Princess Aurora in Maleficent (2014) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019).
In recent years, she has made a transition into independent cinema with lead and supporting roles in films such as 3 Generations (2015), The Neon Demon (2016), 20th Century Women (2016), Mary Shelley (2017), The Beguiled (2017), I Think We’re Alone Now (2018), Galveston (2018), and Teen Spirit (2018).
Fanning starred alongside Angelina Jolie in the 2014 Walt Disney film, Maleficent, directed by Robert Stromberg. Jolie played Maleficent, while Fanning played Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty. The same year, she appeared in the independent science-fiction Western Young Ones and starred in the biographical Low Down, about the life of jazz pianist Joe Albany, in which she plays the role of Albany’s daughter, Amy-Jo, from whose perspective the story is told.
In 2015, Fanning co-starred in Jay Roach’s Trumbo as Dalton Trumbo’s (Bryan Cranston) daughter Nikola, and starred in 3 Generations (previously known as About Ray), alongside Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon, playing the role of a young transgender man.
In 2016, she appeared as Jesse in the psychological thriller The Neon Demon, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016. It was released on June 24, 2016, and did poorly at the box office. That same year, she appeared in Mike Mills’s 20th Century Women, opposite Greta Gerwig and Annette Bening. The film had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 8, 2016, and began a limited release on December 28, 2016. She then co-starred in Ben Affleck’s Prohibition-era drama Live by Night, which was released on December 25, 2016.
In 2017, Fanning appeared in Shawn Christensen’s feature-length drama, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, which premiered on January 25 at the Sundance Film Festival. In the same year, Fanning also appeared in John Cameron Mitchell’s British-American science-fiction romantic comedy film How to Talk to Girls at Parties (based on a short story by Neil Gaiman), reuniting with Sofia Coppola in The Beguiled, in the Irish-American romance film Mary Shelley, directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, and in the music video for Grouplove’s single “Good Morning”.
In 2018, Fanning starred alongside Peter Dinklage in I Think We’re Alone Now, directed by Reed Morano. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2018. and was released on September 14, 2018, by Momentum Pictures. She also starred in Galveston opposite Ben Foster, directed by Mélanie Laurent, which had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018. That same year, Fanning starred in Teen Spirit, directed by Max Minghella, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2018. It was released on April 5, 2019.