Elle Fanning has been in a Hollywood fixture for longer than you realise. The 21-year-old had her first starring role in I Am Sam when she was just two years old. Since then, she's starred in (soon to be) 60 projects. Now, the young adult and movie darling is representing a new class in film as the youngest jury member at Cannes Film Festival. A presence like hers is especially welcome at the festival which is not known for being an inclusive place for female and minority voices.
Remember when Kristen Stewart wore flats to protest the festival's rule about women having to don heels for red carpets? Or when Carey Mulligan had to field minsogynst questions during an event at the festival? Having a young, successful Gen Z-er on the panel is a bit surprising, but wholly refreshing.
"I was in complete shock when I got that phone call and that question if I wanted to be a member of the Cannes Jury," Fanning said of hearing the news during a press conference.
She also reminded everyone who may be questioning her validity, like the older man who brought up her age in his question that she is young, but so incredibly worthy. "I started acting when I was young and been on a lot of movie sets," she said, gesturing at Alejandro G. Iñárritu, seated down the row from him, whose film Babel she starred in. "I feel just really honored and I feel proud to represent a young voice in the festival."
This year, only four films in competition were directed by women. Hopefully, hearing from voices like Fanning's will change that.