Genetic advantage

Hollywood is littered with talented young actors stuck in the shadows of successful older siblings, but Elle Fanning’s shaping up to be a formidable young thesp in her own right.

The 10-year-old first appeared onscreen playing younger versions of big sis Dakota’s character in “I Am Sam” and “Taken,” but started catching critics’ attention soon enough after appearing on her own in such dramas as “The Door in the Floor,” “Reservation Road” and “Babel” (in which she played Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt’s daughter).

Now, at roughly the same age that Dakota broke out, Elle has prominent roles in two major features. First, she delivered a talked-about performance as an autistic girl in 2008 Sundance selection “Phoebe in Wonderland,” opposite Felicity Huffman and Patricia Clarkson. Next, she appears as a young Blanchett opposite a reverse-aging Pitt in David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

It’s enough to make a big sis proud: “Her character in ‘Pheobe,’ just the way she feels for other people — that is my sister,” Dakota beams. “She has such compassion for others. I love watching her so much.”

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