Sundance: It’s Elle Fanning’s Year

Sundance's 'It Girl' has busy 2014 in store

Elle Fanning Sundance
Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic

Now 15, Georgia-born actress Elle Fanning long ago emerged from the shadow of older sister Dakota, earning Park City raves as far back as 2008 with her lead turn in “Phoebe in Wonderland.” But this stands to be an especially important Sundance for the young star, who will be generating plenty of attention with three very different projects at the festival.

In dramatic competition selection “Low Down,” she plays the daughter of heroin-addicted jazz pianist Joe Albany. Fanning describes the true story as “a heavy drama,” told through the eyes of her character, Amy.

“(Amy Albany) wrote a book about their lives, and she was on set in L.A. every day,” she says. “So you feel the responsibility of getting it right, but I could also ask her about any detail.”

For “Young Ones,” which preems Jan. 18 at the Eccles, Fanning traveled to South Africa to portray a “lovesick girl who remembers life before the water and food ran out.”

Teasing the cautionary sci-fi tale, Fanning says, “There’s no aliens, but it deals with some very serious issues.”

Fanning also appears in the fest’s more avant-garde New Frontiers section, with a role in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new “HitRecord” variety show.

“I did a piece about a girl with blurred depth perception seeing stars for the first time,” she says. “It’s another true story and we did it all greenscreen.”

Fanning will be seeing all three projects for the first time in Sundance, which she has attended twice before.

“It’s the first festival I ever went to, so it’s always been very special for me,” says the actress, who also plays opposite Angelina Jolie in Disney’s “Maleficent” and voices the lead role in Laika’s stop-motion “The Boxtrolls.”