At some point or another in our lives, we’ve probably watched or have at least heard of the 1959 Disney classic, “Sleeping Beauty”. For some of us, it was one of the first animation films we watched as kids. Aside from the film’s damsel in distress, Princess Aurora, other notable characters that are hard to forget are such as the three good fairies (Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather) as well as the extremely evil but also extremely powerful Maleficent.
So evil, she sits on the same pedestal as the Evil Queen in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Except, she has a cloak with a bat-like collar and horns that were based right off the devil. In fact, her name itself is a derivative of the Latin word, “maleficentia” which means “evil-doing”. Brr! But enough about the animation film. Here are some things you need to know about the live-action Maleficent.
Well, mostly about Angelina Jolie, who stars as Maleficent but hey, who’s complaining? Enjoy:
1. Tim Burton was originally in the running to direct the live-action Maleficent.
2. Angelina Jolie had a huge role in developing Maleficent’s on-screen look for the live-action movie. Her horns were made by artisans who specialise in fetishware. The heaviest version of the horns was heavy enough to break her neck!
3. Lady Gaga’s look in her music video for “Born This Way” inspired the prosthetic cheekbones Jolie wore for the film. And the contacts she wore while filming were based off of goat eyes, which have horizontal pupils.
4. Vivienne Jolie-Pitt (who plays Maleficent-cursed Princess Aurora as a young girl) is the five-year-old daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. She was picked for the role because, as Jolie says, none of the other young actors would go near her dressed as Maleficent: “It had to be a child that liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv.”
5. American singer Lana Del Rey was handpicked by Angelina Jolie herself to record a version of the Sleeping Beauty classic “Once Upon a Dream” for the movie:
7. Angelina Jolie has been a massive fan of the Sleeping Beauty story ever since she was a child. “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favourite. I was terrified of her, but I was also drawn to her. I wanted to know more about her. She had this elegance and grace, yet she was wonderfully, deliciously cruel,” she said.
9. Maleficent is the directing debut of special effects artist Robert Stromberg. Stromberg has won two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction for “Avatar” and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”. The movie has the biggest budget for any first-time director.
10. When asked about working with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning (who plays the older Princess Aurora in Maleficent) said:
I remember during rehearsals at Pinewood Studios, I didn’t know that I was going to meet her that day. We were doing costume fittings and then everyone started saying, “She’s here! She’s here!” and I was like, “My god!”. The knot was growing in my stomach. And then, I turned the corner, and there she was. She was there in no horns or anything. She was normal, with normal clothes. Because we’re both big huggers, she gave me a giant hug, right away. She shook my shoulders and said, “We’re gonna have so much fun working together.” To have Angelina Jolie just hug you right away was really impactful. It’s funny because, even though I still get butterflies when I see her, and even though we’ve worked together, you can’t help but feel that way. People see that intensity that she has in photographs and on red carpets, and that force around her, but then you meet her and she’s just a girl. We would just talk about normal girl things. We talked about prom. I got to see her sensitivity. She’s super playful. All her kids were on set and she’d yell, “Cut!,” and she’d be in her whole outfit and pick up Vivie and Knox on each hip. She was such the opposite of what I thought she would be.
Bonus: Maleficent is set for an official worldwide release on 30th May. Interestingly and coincidentally, 30th May is also the 55th anniversary of Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”. Mind..blown.