"Navigating the child actor into who she's become now and maintaining that longevity, is something that I think about a lot," Elle Fanning tells PEOPLE of Kirsten Dunst's career
While speaking with PEOPLE at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, the L'Oréal Paris International spokesperson, 25, cited her The Beguiled costar as an actress she has "always looked up to" while speaking about those in the industry she's learned the most from.
"I mean, I'm really lucky. I have a lot. Kirsten Dunst is someone that I also love," the Super 8 actress, who has been working in television and movies since childhood, says. "And I think her navigating the child actor into who she's become now and maintaining that longevity, is something that I think about a lot."
"Because when you've been around for a while, you also want to keep surprising yourself and keep surprising others. And I think that's something that she's done," she says of Dunst, who first broke out back in 1994 with Interview with the Vampire and received her first Oscar nomination in 2022 for The Power of the Dog.
"Also, she's kind of genre-less. She's so incredibly funny but in such dramatic roles," Fanning adds of the Spider-Man actress. "She's always makes kind of interesting choices. And I've always looked up to her too."
Outside of her fondness for Dunst, Fanning also cites Nicole Kidman — her How to Talk to Girls at Parties and The Beguiled costar — as "my ultimate role model" and noted Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck as influential in her career.
"Well, I got to act with him and [watch him] be a director, which was so interesting because I hope to direct one day. I might, I don't know if I would put myself in the project because it seems so overwhelming to do that," she says of Affleck, her costar and director in 2016's crime movie Live By Night.
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"He does it with ease. He is an incredible writer," she says of the Argo filmmaker's ability to manage projects he writes, stars in and directs. "That script was so great, but it was so neat to see him. We would have a scene together and then he would just say, he would have to say cut."
"It was so, wow. The balancing act of having to compartmentalize your brain like that," Fanning adds. "That's what the big takeaway that I had from that project."
Fanning, who currently stars in the fourth season of her Hulu series The Great, recently revealed during an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that she was once told she was not cast for a major movie role "because I didn't have enough Instagram followers at the time."
"I didn't get a part once for something big," she said on the podcast. "It might not have just been this reason, but this was all the feedback that I heard — because I didn't have enough Instagram followers at the time."
"That was a little like, 'OK,' " Fanning added, noting that she "firmly" doesn't "believe" in "ever not getting a part" because of a social media follower count.
The Cannes Film Festival is running through May 27 in Cannes, France.
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