As historian Michelle Ercanbrack told Ancestry.com at the time, «It’s exciting when art imitates reality, and Elle’s storied family history adds another layer of magic to her portrayal of Aurora. Whether it’s royals or villains, there’s a story in every family tree, and you’ll never know what you might discover unless you look.» Obviously, Ercanbrack was talking about Elle Fanning’s role in «Maleficent» as Princess Aurora alongside Angelina Jolie as the legendary titular Disney villain. The younger Fanning would go on to play real-life royalty after her start as Aurora, though.
From 2020 to 2023, Fanning played real regal figure Catherine the Great on Hulu’s original series «The Great,» pioneered by Tony McNamara (known for his other historical epic «The Favourite»). With Nicholas Hoult in a hilarious turn as Catherine’s famously hapless husband Emperor Peter III, Fanning handily leads the series as Catherine, the woman who overthrew both Peter and all of her detractors to become Russia’s Empress and usher in an age of cultural and geopolitical relevance. Sadly, the series ended with its third season … but it will forever be fitting that Fanning got to play such a famous royal, considering that she’s related to past and present members of the English monarchy.