Instead, we locate a white sofa behind a potted palm-tree in a corner of the studio.
Fanning, who has changed into white palazzo pants and a T-shirt ('I’ve had this for, like, six years,’ she says, 'my mom is always telling me to get rid of it, but I refuse’), plops down and immediately half-buries herself in scatter cushions.
The experience is somewhat bittersweet, as it would be for any 18-year-old. It's good never to take anything for granted.’ Fanning was born in Conyers, a small city near Atlanta.
'I was saying to my mom the other day, it’s so weird not to have anyone around to run things by. Precocious from the beginning, she learnt to read at two and started primary school two years early; she caught the acting bug doing drama at summer camp, and by five was starring in so many advertisements that her family upped sticks and moved to Los Angeles.
Wearing a cornflower-blue minidress that makes her pale, polished-marble skin appear incomprehensibly luminous, she telegraphs a serene self-confidence, offset by occasional bursts of teenage gawkiness.
When she stands still and gazes into the camera, she has an unearthly, doll-like beauty – huge, wide-set blue eyes and a slightly exaggerated forehead – but then she bursts into a goofy laugh, or twists her ankles into an awkward angle, and she's once again just an 18-year-old girl playing dressing-up.
You try to plan things, but sometimes you have no control, and that can actually be pretty great.’ She pauses, thoughtfully. I have plenty of time.’ The next film she’ll be seen in is Effie, as the teenage bride of the Victorian art critic John Ruskin.
'Tess does fall in love, and that’s one of the things that drew me to the story, because as a young woman you have dreams of having boyfriends and going to college and meeting someone you want to spend the rest of your life with and having kids. It is written by Emma Thompson, of whom Fanning says, 'She is beyond. She is such an amazing woman and writer and actor and humanitarian and mother and wife.
In 2007, aged 13, she played a rape victim in the controversial Hounddog, and in 2010 wowed critics as a kohl-eyed, bustier-loving singer, Cherie Currie, in the jailbait-band biopic The Runaways. 'I think it’s important not to grow up in life too fast and not to grow up on screen too fast,’ she says, twirling strands of her hair around a finger.A little unnervingly, 12 years into her career she seems to be just getting started.Fanning suggests we go for coffee at a nearby café after the photo-shoot but, just as we’re about to leave, the heavens open with such ferocity that, she says with a giggle, 'the whole interview might end up happening underneath an awning’.'Now this,’ she says, 'is cosy.’ She is currently on summer break from her studies at New York University, where she enrolled last year.Her favourite subjects are literature and psychology.'I think I really like psychology because my job is all about getting inside another person’s mind and thoughts,’ she says, 'and somehow with all of my assignments I end up talking in one way or another about what I do.’ It’s no surprise that her worlds are intertwined.Fanning is so committed to acting that she’s stayed in the sweltering city during her holidays to film Very Good Girls – about two teens vying to lose their virginity – alongside Elizabeth Olsen.After I Am Sam, she went on to star opposite Denzel Washington (Man on Fire), Robert De Niro (Hide and Seek), Julia Roberts (Charlotte’s Web) and Kevin Bacon (Trapped), becoming one of Hollywood’s most in-demand – and highly paid – young actors.Despite all of this, she insists that she had a 'pretty normal’ childhood.The story, which Fanning describes as 'emotional and painful but also really beautiful’, follows Tessa as she tries to experience as much as she can of life in the time she has left.'There are things that she sets out to do, a “bucket list” of sorts,’ says Fanning, 'but I think a bigger theme of the film is that life just happens.'It turned out to be very much the quintessential high-school experience, and I met some of the most important people of my life during that time.’ Fanning doesn’t appear to have any of the affectations you might expect from someone whose life has been a series of fortunate events.She credits this to her 'awesome’ parents, both of whom were serious athletes when they were younger.That’s how much I love Hello Kitty.’ On her bookshelves she files her treasured Jeffrey Eugenides novels along with her 'favourite-ever’ film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. 'I love who I am and I love my life but if I could be someone else I’d be Beyoncé in two seconds,’ she says. My mom and I have been pretty much together my whole life, because when I was working before I was 18 she was always with me.