Instagram followers sometimes really count in Hollywood castings. Elle Fanning, a highly-regarded actress who has been working in the industry since she was a kid, spoke on the Happy Sad Confused podcast about how her now-6.2 million follower count actually once cost her a role.
She was addressing how she doesn’t feel pressure to join a big superhero franchise like Marvel even if it “does something” for other actors’ careers when she shared the story.
She recalled, via Variety, “I did try out for…I’m not going to say what it was, but I didn’t get a part once for something big because—it might not have just been this reason, but this was the feedback that I heard—was because I didn’t have enough Instagram followers at the time. So that was a little like…I firmly don’t believe in not getting a part [for that]. It was for a bigger thing, a franchise thing.”
She added that she was still open to taking a role in a franchise now. “I would never say no to those things, but I would have to have a meeting and really talk to see what it is,” she explained. “I didn’t have to go through what Nick [Hoult] did…they made him try the [Batman] suit on [when he auditioned for The Batman, a part that Robert Pattinson ultimately got]. You need a balance. If you want to do your indie work, especially in producing now…[having a big franchise] does make you breathe better.”
Fanning didn’t name the film she tried out for or the actress to whom she lost the role. But fans noted that Sophie Turner told a similar story in 2017 about how she got a role over another “far better” actress because of her Instagram followers. It’s unclear whether that star was actually Fanning, but Fanning’s comments add to actresses speaking on record about the impact social following has on casting.
Turner told Porter (via The Telegraph UK) in 2017, “I auditioned for a project and it was between me and another girl who is a far better actress than I am, far better, but I had the followers, so I got the job. It’s not right, but it is part of the movie industry now.”
Turner didn’t specify the role, but she did star as young Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), a major franchise film, around that time.
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Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.