Today: July 18, 2024

Angelina Jolie & Elle Fanning Talk Maleficent

DISNEY movie Maleficent, out in cinemas on May 28, is Disney gone bad – in the sense that it explores the untold story of the iconic villain from the 1959 animated feature  Sleeping Beauty.

This year marks the 55th Anniversary of the character and, since her introduction, Maleficent has been Disney’s most popular villain. Now, in this live-action version of the classic story, we finally learn about the betrayal that ultimately turned her pure heart to stone.

Starring Miss Hollywood herself – Angelina Jolie -in the lead role, this dark fairytale co-stars Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn daughter, Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of a seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace, and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

Enter Angelina
At the UK press conference for the movie its star Angelina – looking almost as unapproachable as her on-screen character in a white Versace dress and scarlet lipstick – revealed she had always loved the story of Maleficent as a little girl and has long been intrigued by her complexities.

“She was my favourite Disney character. I was afraid of her and I loved her…I was really moved by the script from first reading. It was like uncovering a great mystery. We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty and we all know Maleficent and what happened at the christening because we’ve all grown up with that. But what we’ve never known is, what happened before?”

Speaking of what she hoped audiences would take away, she said: “I hope the girls, especially, will see the importance of having a sense of justice and a sense of what’s fair and what’s worth fighting for. They’ll see that they can be warriors and at the same time soft and feminine and deeply feeling, with all the complexities women have.”

As to what audiences can expect from Disney’s most iconic villain this time around Jolie said: “People will see that she’s the same wicked Maleficent. What I loved about the original Maleficent when I was little was that she had a wicked sense of fun. She enjoyed being evil and she revelled in it. She still gets to do that and she will satisfy, hopefully, the people that, like myself, are fans of the original. But you get to learn more about her and how she became evil.”

Explaining how she approached her she said: “I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose her sense of wicked fun because I think it’s a very beautiful story. It’s kind of a different but classic fairy tale and it has a lot of heart. We want to revel in that and that was very important for me as well as that she was somebody that was relatable.”

Angelina, whose daughter Vivienne appears briefly (she was the only child that wouldn’t be entirely freaked out by her in horns and wings) admitted that Maleficent was one of the most difficult characters that she has ever played because “she represents all sides of what it is to be human, even though she is not. For me, the journey of playing her has been much heavier, much more emotional, and much more difficult an experience than I expected. There’s a part of me that plays big fun roles, but never this big. She’s slightly crazy, extremely vibrant, a little wicked and has a big sense of humour, so she’s quite full on. It’s one of those characters that, for me, you couldn’t do halfway.”

More Than Sweet And Innocent
Bubbly blonde Elle Fanning (who Angelina described as “pure sunshine” from the moment she met her), as pleasant and enviably fresh-faced in person as she appears on-screen, said playing Aurora was a dream come true.

“It’s been sort of everything that I dreamed of,” said the young actress, sister Dakota, whose breakout role was as Alice Dainard in J. J. Abrams’ sci-fi drama blockbuster, Super 8.

“I think from the moment of putting on her first outfit, getting the hair and everything, it’s been really special to get to play such an iconic character.”

Ellie said audiences watching Disney’s new film would find out a lot more about her. “In our film you get to see her have different emotions and really get the essence of her. I love how she’s very free spirited, and since she has been kept away from normal life, she’s very open to things and innocent. But that’s what makes her very likable and charming.”

She added: “Aurora exudes lightness and it’s so great in our movie that we have the dark and the light, total opposites, because they work so well together, like opposites attract in a way.”

Maleficent opens in UK cinemas on Wednesday May 28, in 3D.



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