Elle Fanning Watched Sister Dakota's Birth Video For An Unusual Reason

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Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

Elle Fanning made the rather unusual decision to watch her sister Dakota Fanning's birth video in order to prepare for her role in season two of The Great.

The actor will soon reprise her role as Empress Catherine II, the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, in the award-winning period drama.

This time around the 23-year-old’s character will be pregnant with her son, who she shares with partner Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) for the majority of her screen time.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the Oscar-nominated actor revealed that she watched a tape of her mother Heather, a former tennis player, giving birth to her 27-year-old sister as homework.

'She didn't have any drugs or anything. So it's scarred in my brain of what that's like,’ she told the publication.

Photo credit: Donato Sardella - Getty Images
Photo credit: Donato Sardella - Getty Images

As for her own birth, Fanning said: ‘I was born during a tornado, so they couldn’t video when I was born because the hospital was in lockdown — which is very fitting, I think.’

The publication also reported that the Maleficient star spoke to a midwife and watched a video of other women giving birth to prepare her for the role.

Earlier this year Fanning showed her close bond with her sister by sharing photos of the duo with their mother on Instagram.

The accompanying caption read: 'Today is the greatest day of all because it’s my beautiful mommy’s birthday … I love you so much mom! [sic].'

Fans of the series, written by Australian writer and producer Tony McNamara, who also co-wrote 2018 black period comedy The Favourite, will know that news of Fanning’s character's pregnancy was announced at the end of season one.

While originally introduced to us as the naïve daughter of a struggling German aristocrat, she becomes a women at the height of female leadership in the upcoming season.

The series, set in rural Russia, will show Fanning's character adapt to life after unseating her husband by taking the throne and officially being named Catherine The Great.

Discussing his character's relationship with Catherine, Hoult recently said: ‘The characters of Catherine and Peter are always trying to one-up each other.

Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images

‘Within scenes, we're completely supportive and trying to get the best from each other — but also at the same time, battling within it and having fun.’

This season also welcomes Catherine’s mother Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp, played by Gillian Anderson, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in season four of the royal drama series The Crown.

Though Anderson only stars towards the end of the series for just two episodes, the Sex Education star’s presence is big news for the cast.

Speaking of her co-star, Fanning said per the Daily Mail: ‘Normally we’re just wild and crazy, but we were like, "Oh my god, Gillian Anderson. Gillian, she’s coming, she’s coming, she’s coming." It was a lot like mother’s coming.'

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