Elle Fanning feels more "confident" since taking on the sexually-charged role of Catherine the Great.

The 25-year-old actress shot to fame as a child alongside her sister Dakota Fanning with roles in 'I Am Sam' and 'Daddy Day Care' but since taking on the part of 1700s Empress Catherine the Great in the raunchy Hulu drama series 'The Great', she has been able to "shatter" her child-star image and feels more "confident" because of it.

She told The Sunday Times: "For a while I was mostly known for being a child actor or a Disney princess and I was trying to shatter my way out of that. Playing Catherine has the princess costume, but she’s raunchy, violent and we’re saying the c-word every other word. I did the pilot when I was 20, I’m now 25 and the formative years of my life have been moulded by this character. To make those crazier choices, to not be afraid to be weird and wild because this is what Catherine would do. When I started all I knew was this rumour that she had sex with a horse — s***-shaming, in a way, because she had a lot of lovers and loved sex. But now . . . it’s the confidence level she has given me."

The 'Maleficient' star went on to add that she is now "hands-on and vocal" on the set of the comedy series and teased that since starting to play the Russian ruler, she is more involved behind the scenes and could eventually turn to a second career in producing.

She said: "I’m pretty hands-on and vocal on set now. I love the editing process. So many actors tell me that I need to find my own material and produce it. It seems simple, but thanks to Catherine I’m learning that it can be, you know, it can be...it can be fun."