Why Elle Fanning Worried She Was Too Young for Live by Night

Elle Fanning from Live by Night
Elle Fanning from Live by Night

Elle Fanning Worried She Was Too Young for Ben Affleck’s Live by Night

Playing the evangelist daughter of a cop in Roaring 1920s Boston in Ben Affleck‘s “Live by Night,” longtime child actress Elle Fanning believed she’d found her most mature role to date, though she initially worried the complicated character Loretta might prove too mature.

“I knew it would be a challenge, and I always want to challenge myself,” Fanning, 18, tells Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar. “When I read the script first I was 15. I remember reading it and I didn’t know if I would get the part. Then I met with Ben. And there’s like no way. He’s going to think I’m too young.”

Elle Fanning Reveals How Delay in Filming Helped Her in Live by Night

In the end, it all worked out, in no small part because it took nearly three years for Affleck to get the gangster flick made.

“I filmed the movie when I was almost 18,” says Fanning. “I felt like it was perfect for Loretta’s character, because I was right on the cusp of feeling like a little girl but then also being a woman. And that odd limbo that you feel is what Loretta was going through, too.  It was perfect. She’s such a complex kind of woman. To be one of three women who influence Ben in the film …was better than just playing the kid in the movie.”

Helping Fanning channel Loretta was the authentic period wardrobe created by costume designer Jacqueline West.

“She’s like the best ever and thinks of every single detail,” says Fanning. “Everything is very thought out and very specific down to the socks and underwear which are all from the 1920s. … You do walk a certain way, you feel a certain way. You’re really transported back to that time.”

Elle Fanning on Getting Over Ben Affleck’s Batman Past

As for working with Affleck, it took a few moments for Fanning get past his megastar image – and the fact that her costar was also her director.

“It’s like Batman?” she jokes. “Ben makes you feel .. so safe and comfortable. He’s directing it, and he’s also the actor with you in the scene. Once he’s playing Joe, you just look at him as the actor. He’s Joe in the scene with you. And then they say cut and he’s off to look at lighting and camera angles. He really does that flawlessly, that transition. So it was amazing to work with him. It was the best experience, really. He just knows how to help you do your best work.”