Elle Fanning Says She Had to "Prove Herself" for 'Teen Spirit' Role

"I was not on the radar for this part at all," said the actress. "I had to prove myself a bit."

For Elle Fanning, landing the role of teenager turned pop star Violet in Max Minghella's (The Handmaid's Tale) directorial debut Teen Spirit was like a dream come true for the actress.  

"I've been looking for a musical for a long time, so I feel this [is] checking that off of the bucket list for me," she told The Hollywood Reporter In Studio.

In the film, Fanning plays Violet, a teenage outsider with pop stardom dreams who lives in a small European town. She enters an international singing competition that will test her talent, integrity and ambition.

While Fanning always dreamed of starring in a musical, she was an unlikely choice for the role and had to "prove herself" to Minghella, who has spent the past 12 years working on the project.

"I was not on the radar for this part, of getting this part, at all," the actress explained. "I think they decided to do a press announcement without the film being cast, and it said, 'This movie will be directed and was written by Max Minghella, and it's about a girl from a small town who goes on a singing competition,' and I was like, 'What is this? I’ve been looking for something to sing in.'"

Continued Fanning: "So I was the one who pursued him because people don’t relate me to singing, and also they were looking at girls who could speak Polish and were from Poland, so I was not on the radar. I had to prove myself a bit to him and be like, 'I can do this.'"

The actress also discussed how she related to Violet's authenticity and her "hunger and drive to achieve her passion and her dream."

"I think Violet is a very authentic character," said Fanning. "She is truly herself and I think she's so uncompromising, and I think that’s such a great message for young people nowadays, is you can achieve your dreams without being someone different or molding herself into something you think the world wants to see, when actually they just want to see you be you. But there’s a real kind of anger and grit to Violet that I loved kind of biting my teeth into."

Watch the video above to hear Fanning discussing working with Minghella, watching Kelly Clarkson on American Idol back in the day and more.