If three is a trend then we are living within a big one right now: an era of pop star-centric films. Elle Fanning is the latest actress to undergo the transformation for the camera, following in the footsteps of Lady Gaga (a real-life pop star playing one) in A Star Is Born and Natalie Portman playing a Gaga-like pop star in Vox Lux. Fanning’s depiction of music stardom, however, is based on a totally different kind of icon as the first trailer for Teen Spirit shows.
In the clip, Fanning does her best Robyn impression as she perfects the indie darling’s beloved 2010 track, “Dancing on My Own.” The trailer doesn’t give much away, other than the fact that Fanning can really sing. “I never dreamed I would make it this far,” she says at one point, in between moments that show the challenges of her rise, from dance class to pre-stage jitters. In the film, Fanning plays Violet, a teenager living in the Isle of Wight who competes in a singing-based reality show à la American Idol with help from an older man played by Zlatko Burić, who pretends to be Violet’s guardian so she can appear on the show.
While Fanning certainly has Robyn’s melancholic, dance floor-flair down, she will also be giving her renditions of songs by other contemporary pop artists, from Ellie Goulding and Carly Rae Jepsen to Tegan & Sara and Sigrid (as well as more cult artists like Annie Lennox and Orbital). The soundtrack will be rounded out with the originals songs of Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Grimes, The Undertones, Aqua, Alice Deejay, Whitfield, Major Lazer and No Doubt, as Rolling Stone notes.
As the film is centered around music, the soundtrack will be a big part of it. “We do stick to certain rules of the musical, which was important to me,” Fanning confirmed to Vanity Fair. “There is a music sequence every 10 [minutes] in the movie, almost exactly. And for me, the film is driven by the music, which is also kind of a rule of the musical.”
Apparently, music has been inside Fanning for a while, and she’s waited until now to fully embrace it. “It was inside me—I would dream of myself one day being onstage,” she added. “I always thought, ‘That would be so cool to get to do that . . . but I’m an actress. So what—I’m going to become like Katy Perry or something? It doesn’t work like that.” It does at least on screen, as everyone will be able to see come April 5, 2019 when Teen Spirit is released.