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I'd love to nab an Oscar before my sis

Living in the showbiz shadow of an exceedingly successful sibling -- not exactly a recipe for familial harmony, right? It wouldn't be all too surprising to learn that behind the smiles and support, Solange has a dartboard of Beyonce's face. Or that the remaining Baldwin brothers practise voodoo on a little stout Alec doll?

What happens though when the success is equalled, if not surpassed? For years, Dakota Fanning has been the breadwinner, an exceptional child star whose early potential in Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds has matured with grown-up turns in Twilight and last month's chemo tearjerker, Now is Good.

Younger sis, Elle, however, is speeding up from the ranks thanks to a breakout in Spielberg's Super 8 and upcoming lead duties opposite Angelina Jolie in the Sleeping Beauty re-tooling Maleficent -- a role she reportedly snatched from Saoirse Ronan. There's even talk that the 14-year-old will nab an Oscar nom for her performance in this week's Ginger and Rosa. That'll get Dakota's blood boiling, right?


"If I got an Oscar nomination before my sister, now that would be fun," Elle grins, giddy at the thought. "But we don't think about that stuff and honestly there's never been any competition between us. The only thing we fight over is clothes, that's as close as we get to sibling rivalry."

With similar blonde Nordic features, the Fannings must regularly find themselves pitted against each other for the same roles?

"It actually hasn't happened yet. Dakota's 18, I'm four years younger, we're at different stages but it probably will down the line. And you're going to see some fireworks there, hair flying, claws out."

Refreshingly frank and droll, the young Californian gives a remarkable performance well beyond her years in Ginger and Rosa, a British coming-of-age yarn framed against a backdrop of the Cold War and the sixties sexual revolution. Alongside newcomer Alice Englebert -- who is the daughter of director Jane Campion -- the pair meander through the prizes and pitfalls of adolescent friendship.


"I didn't know Alice before making this movie and our real relationship genuinely developed with it, like art imitating life. I learned a lot, not only about myself but also about the history of the sixties, it forced me to do a lot of research. Like forced education on history that I wouldn't have had a vast knowledge of.

"Plus I had to do it with an English accent, now that was a big challenge but it made it easier for me when I had to do a similar accent in Maleficent."

In the much-mooted live action adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, Fanning is an ethereal princess, cursed by the wicked Maleficent. Elle reveals, however, that Jolie couldn't be further from her evil alter ego.

"I was expecting 'diva', I really was," Elle explains. "And I was terrified to meet her. I remember seeing her in front of me for the first time, and you're stomach just sort of drops.

"But Angelina threw her arms around me, the warmest hug you could get and says, 'we're gonna have so much fun making this movie'. She's like one of the most maternal women I've ever met, beautiful on the inside and out."

Having worked with a who's who of Hollywood royalty, from Spielberg and Sofia Coppola, to Sean Penn and Cate Blanchett, is there anyone left for the young screen veteran?

"My sister," she gleefully replies. "We want to work together on a movie so bad and we're constantly looking for a script, but nothing has come our way yet that would suit. That's what both of us are working towards."