Interview: Angelina Jolie talks "Maleficent"

Interview: Angelina Jolie talks "Maleficent"

By Nick Leyland | October 27, 2014 02:10PM EDT
© 2013 - Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Maleficent is one of Disney's biggest hits this year and with a November 4th release date for the blu-ray and digital HD, fans will surely be ready to watch the film over and over again this holiday season. Check out the latest interview with star Angelina Jolie as she talks all about how she got involved, Elle Fanning, and more. Also, be sure to check out the bonus clip below where Angelina tells us how she brought this character to life.

(Photo Credit: © 2013 - Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

How did you get involved with the movie?

I loved Maleficent when I was a little girl. She was my favorite Disney character. I was afraid of her and I loved her, so when I heard rumors that there might be a Maleficent movie, I asked around. I asked what was going on and then I got a call. I was very excited.

How does it feel to bring such an iconic character to life?

It was a little terrifying to bring her to life because I was such a fan of the character. I was so excited to get offered the job, but then the idea of finding that voice and that presence was daunting. Maleficent is so commanding and she was done so well in the original that I didn’t want to change her. I wanted to try to enhance her, but I didn’t want to disappoint the original fans – and I’m one of them. Then I got my horns on for the first time, and I got my staff. It felt like I was living out some childhood fantasy to become somebody you’ve always been curious about.

What’s different and new about this story of Maleficent?

You get to know who Maleficent was as a child and how she became evil. And I think, strangely, you will approach that christening scene differently when you see this movie. When you know what you know about Maleficent, by the time you get to the christening scene – if we’ve done it right – you may, dare I say, be on her side.

- Check out this bonus clip “Complexities of Maleficent.”

How would you describe Maleficent?

Maleficent is slightly insane, extremely vibrant and a little wicked. She has a big sense of humor and she’s quite full on, too. You can’t ‘half do it’ when you play her, especially once the horns go on. Mind you, during the first few days you knock your head on everything and you feel very silly and very awkward. When it all comes together, especially at the christening, you suddenly can’t believe how lucky you feel to play her.

What aspect of Maleficent’s personality appeals to you the most? And what aspect of her personality appeals to you the least?

The least part is easy because she curses a baby. That’s probably the least appealing thing about any person. What’s the most appealing side to her? Well, what we will now discover about her is that she was actually somebody who was quite fierce and loyal, and a fighter for what she believed in when she was young. I love that about her. She has a strong sense of justice. When she gets wounded, she loses all that and she does the most unjust, horrible thing, which is to curse an innocent person.

How challenging was it to come up with the look of Maleficent with her chiseled cheeks and sinister horns?

We worked a long time on the look of Maleficent. We sat around and we tried many different things – and I’m sure that at some point the pictures will get out of the things we did not choose to do. In the end, we knew that we didn’t want the makeup to distract you when you stare at her during a real dramatic scene. It had to be extreme and yet her soul had to come through. I had to be able to perform through it, too. In the end, we decided it would be a strange extension of my own face. I didn’t want to be shellacked so that you couldn’t see a person behind it.

(Photo Credit: © 2013 - Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

What do you think of Elle Fanning’s portrayal of Princess Aurora in the movie?

Elle is Aurora. From the moment I met her, Elle is just sunshine. She’s a wonderful, sweet, intelligent young woman. When I was 14 years old, I was quite dark, so I’m in awe of the way that she holds herself. She’s such a capable actress and she’s such a strong person, too. She’s very strong, which is nice because this Aurora is not just in love with the flowers and the quiet; she is elegant and beautiful and delicate and loving. She’s centered and she’s quite an impressive young woman.

What impressed you the most about Elle’s performance in Maleficent?

Elle is a brilliant actress. She’s so deeply good in this movie. She brings magic to her portrayal because she is sparkly. She definitely has something magic about her.

Do you see any similarities between yourself and Elle?

Elle and I are very similar as women. She’s a lovely person. When I was her age, I might have been very, very different from her – but what’s interesting is the fact that there’s a darkness to Maleficent and there was a darkness to me at that age. Elle is so full of light. She’s so full of love. There’s a lot of humor to be had and a lot of charm in the combination of these two characters. As frightening as I can be, Aurora’s kindness and sweetness and openness is frightening to Maleficent because it’s so pure and sweet. It’s unnerving.

Princess Aurora’s three pixie guardians also add humor to the movie. What do you think of their role in the movie?

Three wonderful, extraordinary actresses play the very famous pixies. You know them by color: the green, pink and blue. I have a funny relationship with them because Maleficent hates them, so I get to banter with them – especially Imelda Staunton [who plays Knotgrass]. Imelda is one of the most extraordinary actresses. To be dressed with horns, having a crazy moment in a scene andhaving her as a little fairy yelling at me is one of the best crazy moments I’ve ever had on film.

What can you tell us about Maleficent’s sidekick Diaval, played by Sam Riley?

Maleficent turns Diaval into many things, depending on what she heeds. On occasion, I’ll turn Sam into a bird. Sometimes I’ll turn him into a wolf. Sometimes I’ll turn him into a horse. Somehow, Sam has to be like the animals and the animals have to somehow be like Sam, so they are this very interesting combination.

How will the audience relate to the young Maleficent we see in the movie?

She is a very innocent youth. You see a lot of young people today who are very passionate about environmental causes, or the world, or politics. Well, Maleficent has that that the audience will identify with.

In what other ways is Maleficent relatable to today’s audiences?

Wicked is always relatable. She’s troubled, and I think we all relate to being troubled. I certainly do. She’s been wounded and I think adults and children will relate to that because we’ve all been hurt in our lives. We’ve all had that experience. But then it’s about the choices we make and how with live with those choices.

How would you describe Maleficent’s journey in the movie?

Maleficent gets beaten down and she fights back, but then she becomes quite dark. She loses her humanity completely, so she then has to find it again. For me, the journey of playing her has been much heavier, much more emotional and much more difficult an experience than I expected.

How sad was it to leave the character behind at the end of the movie shoot?

It was very sad. But I still have a pair of horns at home. I haven’t completely let her go.

Tags: Maleficent, Angelina Jolie, Nick Leyland