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Elle Fanning and Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Dec 20, 2011

By: Lynn Barker

Kidzworld is on the cell with Elle who is teetering on the brink of bigtime stardom!

Beautiful, 13-year-old Elle Fanning, sis of Dakota, is in huge demand. She’s not really dating yet but she’s courted for “older” roles. In the sweet film We Bought a Zoo out this week, Elle plays her age; a young girl with her first big crush.

We’re talking boys, animals, holiday wishes, music, Scarlett Johansson, Hunger Games and more….

Kidzworld: Hey Elle, I interviewed cute Joel Courtney for Super 8. Do you stay in contact with him and the guys from the film?

  • Elle: We do! We just saw each other the other day for the Super 8 DVD release. It was great to see them all again, all the boys and J.J. [director J.J. Abrams].

Kidzworld: We Bought a Zoo is loaded with cute critters! What is it about animals that can inspire humans to be better people?

  • Elle: I have a horse and a dog. Our whole family, we’re just very much animal lovers and I feel like whenever you watch a movie with animals and something happens to them I feel like is much more sad. You get like “Oh my God, I can’t sit through this” and I feel like animals connect to people.

Kidzworld: Did you get to go to the animal handler school to learn how to interact with the animals before you shot the movie?

  • Elle: There were always trainers on set when they brought in the different animals because they didn’t live in the zoo that we made, they lived off in their own [habitat] and they were delivered to set every day. Before we started shooting, we went to the place where they hold all of the animals that are in movies and sort of got to know them.
  • With the lions and tigers, we couldn’t get that close to them but with Crystal the capuchin monkey, she was on set every day and she was always on someone’s shoulder. She’s so cute. Like a little person.

Elle at the premiereElle at the premiere

Kidzworld: Which animal was your favorite and which one made you nervous or kinda scared?

  • Elle: I think Crystal was my favorite but the one that made me the most nervous was probably the bear just because he can smell food from like miles away and we had to keep the food trucks far away from him. He eats whipped cream and ice cream so he definitely can sense human food… and humans so they wouldn’t let us get too close but the guys and girl trainers would just go right in there with the bear.

Kidzworld: Your character Lily tries to impress cute new guy Dylan in the movie. Do you doll up to impress a guy with make-up, fashion and stuff or just be yourself and natural?

  • Elle: I just want to be natural I guess. With Lily, she’s trying really hard because she’s never experienced that before. She’s homeschooled and lives out in the country with all these animals and her friends are animals. And, talking to Dylan, she’s trying to approach him like she would an animal.  He’s this city boy so he’s this exotic creature to her.

Kidzworld: Was it fun doing the W magazine shoot with your sister Dakota? You two look awesome in it. Do you guys argue a lot when you work together or is it all smooth-sailing?

  • Elle: That was so fun! We’ve never done a movie together but that photo shoot was really fun. We hadn’t done a photo shoot together that big in a long time so it was fun to do one again and wear all the fashion and shoes and all.

Kidzworld: How was working with Scarlett Johansson?  Isn’t she an animal advocate?

  • Elle: Yeah. She had her dog on set a lot. We just really got along. When I heard I was going to be in this movie with Scarlett Johansson, I felt like, “Oh my gosh, this big name”. I’d never met her before. Then, once you meet her she’s this normal girl. She’s just Scarlett to me and we e-mail each other all the time still. We keep in touch and we really got close while filming this.

Kidzworld: Do you listen to music on set between scenes or did your director Cameron [Crowe] play music on set?

  • Elle: Yeah, he’s a big music advocate. He always has his computer set up and would have all of his songs on there. Right before we would do a take, depending on how the mood was in the scene, he would put on a song that suited the mood and you would get in the mood. Then he would say “action” but the music would still be playing.
  • He would also have a theme song for each character. Mine was “Don’t Be Shy” by Cat Stevens and mine got put in the movie. When you see Lily for the first time, “Don’t Be Shy” is playing. That was really cool.

Kidzworld: Who are you into in music?

  • Elle: I really like alternative bands. I like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros a lot. They’re really good. Then I like Adele.

Kidzworld: Did you hang out with Colin [Ford who plays Dylan] and Maggie [Elizabeth Jones, who plays his younger sister] at all between scenes or more with the adult actors?

  • Elle: I feel like with Matt [Damon] Scarlett and Thomas [Hayden-Church] all of them made us feel like we were one of them which was really nice. We would all be laughing together and talking and with Cameron too and that was fun. I knew Colin before. We both grew up in Georgia and both go to the same school so we’ve known each other for a while. He’s in 9th grade and I’m in 8th.

Kidzworld: Who are you a big fan of maybe to the point of putting their poster or picture on your wall?

  • Elle: Well, I’m obsessed with Marilyn Monroe if that counts. It’s not a heartthrob guy but she’s all over my wall. I saw My Weekend with Marilyn. That was great.

Kidzworld: Are you a “Hunger Games” fan because that movie is coming up next year?

  • Elle: I haven’t read the books. But, yeah, for sure, my friends we’ll probably all go see it.

Kidzworld: Are you team Jacob or Edward or you just don’t care?

  • Elle: I saw “Breaking Dawn but when you see the movie you want to go with Bella and support her decision.

Kidzworld: What do you want for Christmas?

  • Elle: I want a camera! I want a fancy one. I don’t know if my parents will get me a super fancy one but I took photography this year for my elective in school and we’re learning how to develop all the film in the dark room so I’m really interested in that now.

Ella and Scarlet at the premiere

Kidzworld: Do you have any skills or special talents you haven’t gotten to use in a film yet that you would like to? We know you can do ballet [in Somewhere].  

  • Elle: It would be fun to do a musical; something where I get to sing and maybe dance and do everything together. I’ve never had a movie like that before. I’ve had singing lessons but I’ve always sung around the house when I was really little. Ever since I can remember my sister [Dakota] would be like “Be quiet!”

Kidzworld: What’s coming up for you? Are you playing a 1960’s London girl in a movie called Bomb?

  • Elle: I’m doing that in January. Yeah, I love the ‘60’s. I’m doing something called A Pure Life and then Twixt, we already filmed that. I’m not sure when it’s coming out. They are still tweaking it but it was really fun to film. [Elle plays a ghost].

Kidzworld: Why should kids and teens really enjoy seeing We Bought a Zoo?

  • Elle: It has all age groups in it, like Matt’s age and then it has first love and teenagers I guess will sort of relate to that and it’s a very uplifting film so when you walk out of it you’ll be happy.

We Bought a Zoo - Heart