Elle Fanning

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Live By Night – Her most challenging role yet


She plays Loretta Figgis in Ben Affleck’s latest directorial offering, Live By Night and at just 18, teenage megastar Elle Fanning is wise beyond her years.

Here she opens up about playing such a complex character and peeling back the layers.


On the challenges of playing “Loretta”…

“There’s so many different chapters in Joe’s life in Live By Night, but the Loretta chapter to me was … Her character was so breathtaking to me in a way, I’d never read anything like it and I’ve never had to do such a challenging role. I felt like, gosh, you look and you see these sermons that she’s saying and there’s so many different layers to this girl, because essentially she’s just a little girl.”

On her character…

“She’s a young girl and she is the Sheriff’s daughter so obviously she has a reputation; you know her family reputation, kind of keeping up with that and everyone around town knows Loretta Figgis because of her dad. But she also, as a girl, she has a sparkle. I mean there’s definitely a twinkle inside her that when the screen agent comes to scout around for girls, I think they see that sparkle and her innocence and naivety. She wants to go to Hollywood to be an actress, that’s her dream and her father’s really supportive of that. She’s just looking for adventure and she’s excited to start her life and go on this journey off to Hollywood and maybe, you know, become someone famous.”

On “Loretta” becoming a preacher …

“She starts doing these sermons in little small churches at first and preaching against alcohol, against drugs; those are the evils in the demon rum! All these long speeches that she says and actually people are mesmerised by it and start to really listen to her. The next time you see her she’s in a revival tent and there’s millions of people and it’s become, kind of in a way, this show. But on the inside you learn that was something, it wasn’t fake, but I think it was her coping mechanism and how she tried to help herself from her terrible past.

On what “Loretta” thinks of “Joe”…

“Maybe most people would be scared of Joe’s character and scared of him in the, oh God the people he’s killed and things he’s done, but I think Loretta sees a good man inside of Joe and she’s not afraid of him. She’s not afraid to say, well these are my beliefs, you know what respect that, and that’s it!”


Live By Night, is released this Friday.