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Elle Fanning Made Her ‘Neon Demon’ Character Even Darker Than the Script Called For

Just one day after graduating from high school, Elle Fanning had yet another reason to celebrate as she made her way down the purple carpet at Tuesday’s premiere of her new film “The Neon Demon.” Fanning sparkled in a sequin gown at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, where she was joined by co-stars Jena Malone, Keanu Reeves, Bella Heathcote and Christina Hendricks, as well as director Nicolas Winding Refn and composer Cliff Martinez.

Fanning said she was drawn to the film — which centers on her character, Jesse, as she breaks into the modeling industry in L.A. and becomes the envy of other beauty-obsessed models — because of its horror-like aspects and the chance to delve into a different type of role.

“I think everyone has a side to them that is a little darker,” Fanning explained to Variety, “Going to that place was actually very, very fun and we made her a little bit darker than the script was initially.”

After writing and directing his last film, “Only God Forgives,” Refn said he knew the concept that he wanted to pursue in this female-centric project.

“I wanted to make a horror film about beauty,” Refn said. “I’ve always been interested in beauty as a concept, and in a way it’s very shallow, but it’s also very complex and it’s a great backdrop for a horror film.”

Martinez said Refn called him before he had even written the script, and told him that this new film would be all about women. “The Neon Demon” marks the third collaboration between Refn and Martinez, who also composed the music for “Drive” and “Only God Forgives.”

Because many of the scenes contain very little dialogue, Martinez’s music plays a key role in setting the tone and building suspense.

“Some of the most adventurous contemporary music is in horror movies,” Martinez said. “Nicolas’ films are always a little bit more challenging because nobody talks a lot in his films and he gives the music a big, fat, juicy role, so that’s kind of a flattering challenge.”

As guests made their way into the theater, Amazon Studios head Roy Price introduced Refn, who called up his cast and told the audience, “I want to encourage everyone here to take out their cell phones and get ready because tonight we celebrate narcissism as a quality.”

“I would recommend selfies,” he added, prompting many audience members to snap photos of themselves with the cast in the background before the screening began.

Following the premiere, guests made their way to the Cinespia after-party, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the fashion world in “The Neon Demon” came to life. The outdoor soiree featured decorations and lighting reminiscent of scenes from the movie, as well as a photo booth and vanities where makeup artists created runway-ready looks, complete with glitter eye shadow and rhinestones. In keeping with the horror aspects of the film, the night’s culinary offerings even included eyeball cake pops.

“The Neon Demon” bows June 24.

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