Mary Elle Fanning (born April 9, 1998) is an American actress. She made her film debut as the younger version of her sister Dakota Fanning's character in the drama film I Am Sam (2001). As a child actress, she appeared in several films, including Babel (2006), Phoebe in Wonderland (2008), and Somewhere (2010). Her breakthrough came in 2011 with her starring role in J. J. Abrams' science-fiction film Super 8, for which she received critical praise and earned a Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival.
Fanning subsequently had leading roles in the comedy-drama film We Bought a Zoo (2011), the drama film Ginger & Rosa (2012), and as Princess Aurora in the fantasy films Maleficent (2014) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019). She also began working in independent cinema, collaborating with auteurs in lead and supporting roles in films such as Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon (2016), Mike Mills' 20th Century Women (2016), Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled (2017), John Cameron Mitchell's How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017), Woody Allen's A Rainy Day in New York (2019), and Sally Potter's The Roads Not Taken (2020). In 2020, she began portraying Empress Catherine II in the Hulu series The Great, for which she received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and won the Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy.
In 2019, aged 21, Fanning became the youngest person to serve as a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.