Angelina Jolie Talks ‘Maleficent,’ Her Daughter’s Performance, and Transforming Into the Character

Maleficent Once Upon a Dream Trailer
Angelina Jolie stars in 'Maleficent' (Photo © Disney 2014)
Oscar winner Angelina Jolie takes on the lead role in Disney’s action adventure tale, Maleficent, which focuses on the villain from the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent’s backstory is explored in the PG film which opens in theaters on May 30, 2014, and during an LA press day, Angelina Jolie talked about why she felt it was important to take on this particular film role. Jolie also discussed how she went about physically transforming into the character and her daughter’s performance in Maleficent.

On why she wanted to help tell this story:

Angelina Jolie: “Well, I think I wanted to do something that my children can see. I wanted to have fun and explore different art and performance in a way I hadn’t done. But most of all, I read Linda’s script and I was really moved by it. I actually got very emotional when I finished it and I thought it was one of the best scripts I had read in a long time because of the issues it dealt with. I thought it was, in fact, an important story to tell.”

On getting into the role:

Angelina Jolie: “I think that was part of the thing with this role is you realize that there’s no halfway, that if you’re going to do it, you can’t kind of do it. You’re going to have to just to fully get into it and enjoy it. The original was done so well and her voice was so great and the way she was animated was so perfect that if anything, I just was so worried I’d fail the original. But I practiced a lot with my children – my voice – and when I got them laughing, I figured I was on to something.”

On the physical transformation into the role of Maleficent:

Angelina Jolie:“It wasn’t that much. The creation of it took a little time to figure out how to do the horns, even how to get them on my head and how do they stay on the head. We used my hair as kind of my braids to nail it down to different things. Well, it was a headpiece, of course, with the horns, it wasn’t like a headband. So we kind of put my hair in these balls and then you put the headpiece over and you pull the braids through and then you use it to anchor it. And then we had different horns. At first they were too heavy, then we got them softer, then we found ones that would snap off because I kept banging into things, and, you know, it just all slowly came together.

We tried different things and some of the things didn’t work. We kind of tried different [hair]. We had feather hair at one point. We went crazy. ‘Well, she’s a bird maybe she has feather hair instead,’ but we finally go to it. We just wanted to have a character that when you’re watching it, when you’re seeing the dramatic scenes you feel that you can watch her and I can perform without people staring at the makeup. We wanted to really find a balance so it was kind of an enhanced face but it still felt like a real face somehow. Not a real face … that a soul could still come out through that face.”

On her daughter appearing in the movie:

Angelina Jolie: “Well, Brad and I never wanted our kids to be actors. We never talked about it as a thing, you know? But we also want them to be around film and be a part of mommy and daddy’s life and for it not to be kept from them either, just to have a good healthy relationship with it. This came about because there were kids that would come to set and they would see me and I would go up and say hi to them and they would cry. I actually had one child completely freeze and then cry; it was like terror, and so I felt so bad. But we realized that there was no way that we were going to find a four or five year old that I could be as strong with that would not see me as a monster, and suddenly there was Vivie running around looking like little Aurora and everybody kind of thought, ‘Oh, the answer’s right there.’ But then I had to go home and talk to dad and we both sat around thinking. It’s our kid, so it’s so sweet, the idea of it’s so cute to us as mommy and daddy but then the fact that she’s in a film and suddenly it’s the world and film and all that, took us a second.”

On how Vivienne Jolie-Pitt handled life on the set:

Angelina Jolie: “She was good. The first day was the day she had to catch the butterfly and she just really didn’t feel like doing it. So, I actually was holding the pole with the ball on the end and bouncing up and down and kind of dancing trying to make her laugh, and daddy was on the edge of the cliff she had to jump off, kind of like making faces and doing all these things. Her brothers and sisters were kind of egging her on and she eventually did it, but she was just taking her sweet time and not wanting to do it twice certainly, because that was, you know. But then when we got to our scene, we’d kind of practiced it a little bit at home where I’d say, like ‘Okay, I’m going to say go away and then you try to get back.’ So by the time we did that, when we did it together we had a good time, we played together and I was actually shocked that she was doing so well. Inside I thought, ‘Oh, she went back and hit her mark.’ It’s frightening.”

On the timing of Maleficent in her life and career:

Angelina Jolie:“I mean it’s such a great project I imagine I would always have considered it, but I think it was really after having directed and thinking that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to act or how good I’d be, this challenge of it wasn’t returning to act, it wasn’t anything normal, it was such a crazy idea and I was so challenged by it. My kids are now all watching all these movies and wanting to play with mommy and it was perfect timing to have them all on set, playing, being a part of the adventure with me, and for me as an actress to not do something where I’m taking myself so seriously and I’m trying to do something for myself and my art but just play. Just remember what it is to play and entertain and try something bold.

[Motherhood] had a lot to do with it, and then also the artist in me felt it’s good to do something bold every once in a while, that you’re not comfortable with that you haven’t done. I was actually a bit nervous to take her on. I don’t have a big theatre voice, I don’t do things that are kind of comedic. This is such a crazy idea I’m a fairy. You know, I’d come home and, ‘How was your day, honey?’ ‘I was a fairy, I don’t know.’ But it’s great to jump into things that you’re not sure of and you haven’t done. It’s a little scary. That’s what we have to do as artists.”

-By Rebecca Murray

Follow Us On:

Stumble It!