Elle Fanning Didn’t Get A Major Franchise Role Because Of Her Instagram Following

Elle Fanning was told she lost a role because her follower count on Instagram was too low.

By Phillip Moyer | Published

Nobody would deny that we live in the age of social media, but sometimes it’s easy to underestimate just how much that might is the case. As Deadline reports, one of the reasons that Elle Fanning didn’t get a role in an unnamed major franchise is the fact that her Instagram page didn’t have enough followers. Fanning, who currently has more than 6 million followers on Instagram, revealed this surprising fact while promoting Season 3 of Hulu‘s The Great.

Elle Fanning shared this strange detail while appearing on Josh Horowitz’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. In the interview, she said that this isn’t just speculation on her part, since her low Instagram follower count was specifically brought up as part of the feedback for her audition. Fanning said that it wasn’t the only reason she didn’t get the part, but the feedback didn’t sit well with her — she wholeheartedly disagrees with the idea that social media popularity should affect which roles you are cast in.

While Elle Fanning didn’t clarify when this failed audition took place, it likely wasn’t any time recently, given the actress’s skyrocketing Instagram popularity. According to analytics tracking site SocialBlade, Fanning has gained about 700,000 Instagram followers annually since at least 2020. It’s possible that this casting incident inspired Fanning to focus on promoting her Instagram page, though she didn’t say as much in the interview.

Despite her complaints, losing the franchise role hasn’t bothered Elle Fanning. She stated that she doesn’t feel pressured to appear in major tentpole films. In fact, she considers the prospect to be somewhat frightening since it’s never certain whether a major movie will be a massive success or a box office flop.

In fact, most studios don’t seem to have agreed with this unnamed franchise’s choice to use Instagram followers for their casting decisions. While Elle Fanning hasn’t headlined any of the industry’s massive franchises, she has appeared in multiple films per year since Instagram first launched in 2010. These roles have included playing Alice Daynard in the 2011 sci-fi mystery Super 8, playing Aurora in the 2014 live-action Disney film Maleficent, and returning to the role of Aurora in the 2019 sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

Elle Fanning had appeared regularly in movies and TV series long before social media was even a thing. Her first credited role was as the 2-year-old version of Lucy in the 2001 Sean Penn film I am Sam — her older sister Dakota played the same character at age 7. This film came out two years before the rise of Myspace, the first social media site to gain a global audience.

Elle Fanning’s continued acting success seems likely to continue throughout the near future, at the very least. She’s scheduled to appear alongside Jake Gyllenhall in the upcoming biopic Francis and the Godfather, and alongside her sister Dakota in the historical war drama The Nightingale. She will also provide a voice for the upcoming Hideo Kojima video game Death Stranding 2.