Nicolas Winding Refn: The Neon Demon needed Elle Fanning

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 3 June 2016
Elle and Nicolas

Elle Fanning and Nicolas Winding Refn

'The Neon Demon' director Nicolas Winding Refn says Elle Fanning was the "only one" who could portray tragic supermodel Jesse in his his new horror movie

Elle Fanning was the "only" viable option for the lead role in 'The Neon Demon'.

The 18-year-old actress, who rose to fame starring in 'Super 8', played fame-seeking supermodel Jesse in the horror title and director Nicolas Winding Refn was delighted she agreed to it as he was adamant the movie could only "work" if she was in it.

He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "Well it wasn't so much obvious, it was the only way. My mind was like, 'This film can only work with her', so that was just one option, which is kind of scary when you think about it but also it was fulfilling interesting."

'The Neon Demon' is about a 16-year-old girl (Fanning) who moves from a small town to a big city to pave a career in modelling.

The 45-year-old director says the fresh faced star embodied the character and stood out from the crowd in both reality and in the film because she is a "beautiful young girl, who is sixteen, who happens to be Elle Fanning".

And the movie was a passion project for Refn - whose other credits include the Ryan Gosling hit movie 'Drive' - and he was determined to make a "teenage horror film about a beautiful young girl".

Despite the film being booed at Cannes Film Festival last month, the director likened the film to the famed punk band the Sex Pistols and was just glad the crowd had a "reactionary experience".

He said: 'Well, when people cheer, they boo, you know you've done something right. You know diversity is interesting, being liked and not liked is mundane and I think that creativity is very much about a reactionary experience. The more people react, the more interesting it becomes. And again, it proved at the Cannes Film Festival that we were the Sex Pistols of cinema."

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