Elle Fanning Says She Lost a Role at Age 16 for Being ‘Unf*ckable’

Even worse, the film she was up for was a "father-daughter road trip comedy."

Elle Fanning Says She Lost a Role at Age 16 for Being ‘Unf*ckable’
Photo:Laurent Koffel (Getty Images)

Like many former child stars (especially women), Elle Fanning of The Great has some fairly disturbing tales from her time in the trenches—including, she revealed in a recent interview, being denied a role because someone deemed her “unfuckable” at age 16.

In a Hollywood Reporter roundtable discussion released on Tuesday, Fanning joined Sheryl Lee Ralph, Natasha Lyonne, Ayo Edebiri, and other actresses in conversation about sexism in their industry. “I’ve never told this story, but I was trying out for a movie. I didn’t get it,” she began, adding that she didn’t think the movie was actually ever made.

“I was 16 years old,” Fanning continued, and “a person said, ‘Oh, she didn’t get the father-daughter road trip comedy because she’s unfuckable.’”

Fanning noted she didn’t hear this feedback from her agents, “because they wouldn’t tell me things like this. A “filtration system is really important,” she said, “because there’s probably a lot more damaging comments that they filtered.”

When Lee Ralph expressed her shock that Fanning heard this at age 16, Fanning replied, “Of course, there are so many stories like this. I’ve talked to people about this. And I can laugh at it now, like, ‘What a disgusting pig!’”

To Fanning’s point, many former child stars have shared a range of disturbing sexual comments directed at them when they were minors, sometimes from casting directors and, other times, by “fans.” Last December, Bella Thorne revealed on Emily Ratajkowski’s podcast that she lost a role at 10 years old because the director claimed that Thorne—again, a literal child—had “flirted” with him and made him uncomfortable. Ratajkowski then shared that when she was 16, her agent at the time “pointed to my picture … and they were like, ‘This face. This is how we know this girl gets fucked. You’ve got to give a lesson, Emily, on this.’”

Over the last couple decades, the treatment of female child stars has seen little improvement—just as Natalie Portman, the Olsen twins and Aly and AJ were subjected to “countdowns” to their 18th birthdays (the Olsens had no fewer than seven websites counting down the days), Stranger ThingsMillie Bobby Brown faced similar online treatment before turning 18 last year.

Fanning told the other actresses in the roundtable that she had mixed feelings about her upbringing in the spotlight today at 25. “I’ll look at paparazzi photos from when I was 12 and think, ‘Is that a good thing to see such a mirror of yourself at that age?’ I don’t feel like it damaged me, but it definitely made me very aware of myself in a way,” she said.

But despite the sexism she’s faced, especially when she was younger, the actress said she “[doesn’t] regret” growing up in this industry. “It’s whatever. It’s amazing,” Fanning said. “And I’m glad I found what I love from a young age.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin