Since the release of Sofia Coppola's “Somewhere,” Elle Fanning has become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand young actresses, thanks to a combination of natural beauty and a wholesome and unaffected screen presence. Speaking to The Playlist during press rounds for Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo,” she said she had a couple of high-profile collaborations in the pipeline, continuing to place her considerable talents in the care of established, acclaimed directors.
“I did ‘Twixt’ with Francis Ford Coppola,” she said in an interview last Friday. “I’m not sure when that’s coming out, but we finished it, and he’s probably still tweaking it. And then I’m doing a movie called ‘Bomb’ with Sally Potter next year."
“Twixt” is Coppola’s follow-up to “Tetro,” and his third self-financed project in four years. Starring Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Bruce Dern, Ben Chaplin, Don Novello, David Paymer, Anthony Fusco and Alden Ehrenreich, the story follows a third-rate horror writer (Kilmer) with a declining career who arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. At the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, Coppola premiered footage from the horror film as well as his unconventional approach to its exhibition, where he wants to remix it live and create multiple versions. Fanning said that she really enjoyed working on the film, in which she plays a ghost.
“It was fun time doing that, because we did it all in Napa Valley at his house,” she revealed. “I was staying at his house with him. We were cooking dinner every night, like pasta. And he’s definitely a grandpa to me, I feel, and I’m sort of a part of that family, so I feel so welcomed and it’s nice.” She also indicated that the film was always conceived to be an interactive, ongoing collaboration, albeit with his actors first, and then with audiences as he later intends.
“That came from a dream he had,” she said of the idea. “That movie, he dreamed it, and the summer after ‘Somewhere,’ I went to his vineyard and we just did all of these scenes that he had written. And then, after that, he created the script from us just saying these lines and doing different plays and things like that. And then we got ready to shoot it, and it was like he was making his own homemade movie, at his house.” Additionally, she said that the domestic setting of the film lent itself to an intimate production.
“It was not a big crew at all, and we were just having fun; he’s like, ‘Try whatever' – it was just great. It was fun, especially with him, seeing him on set, directing, like, this is a surreal experience.”
When asked how Francis’ on-set demeanor compares to that of his daughter, “Somewhere” director Sofia Coppola, she said most of the differences manifested themselves in terms of volume. “I feel that he’s definitely a lot louder than Sofia, because she’s so soft,” she said, laughing. “But you can tell where she got all of her talent from, just watching him and learning from him. And they also do a lot of things the same where they’re just so in the moment, and whatever happens, just go with it. They want the raw, natural stuff.”
“We Bought a Zoo” opens nationwide on December 23, 2011.