Elle Fanning: Dakota’s kid sis grows up

Youth Impact Report 2011: Bigscreen Kids

Impact: Between “Somewhere” and her standout role as the lone girl in “Super 8’s” all-boy ensemble, distinguished herself from Dakota.
Next: Set to star opposite Alfred Molina and Neve Campbell in “Vivaldi,” a biopic of the famous composer’s early life.
Causes: Best Buddies and Shane’s Interest

While Elle Fanning may have started off her career at the age of 4 playing younger versions of her sister Dakota both in film (the Oscar-nommed drama “I Am Sam”) and on TV (the 2002 mini “Taken”), the Georgia-born actress has emerged from the shadow of her older sister thanks to a pair of high-profile roles.

First up was an impressive turn as a bored movie star’s common-sense daughter in Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” a study of celebrity burnout that won the Golden Lion at Venice last year. “She can hold her own with any adults,” says Coppola. “She can do anything. She’s smart and has good ideas, good taste. She’s very natural and just has that rare quality that you want to watch her.”

Fanning then co-starred in J.J. Abrams’ retro sci-fi thriller “Super 8,” the only name among a cast of unknown child actors. Since then, Fanning, now 13, worked with Coppola pere as a ghost named V in the Toronto-launched “Twixt,” based on a dream the director had. She also has a substantial role in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo,” a dramedy starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, about a Brit family who use their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo, out December.

With impressive choices in both projects and respected directors (David Fincher on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on “Babel”), Elle Fanning looks more and more likely to give her older sister a run for her money.