Angelina Jolie is Maleficent and More!
By: Lynn Barker
Famous actress Angelina Jolie has played many heroes (Lara Croft, voice of Tigress in the Kung Fu Panda films) and a few villains (in Beowulf for example) but she takes on one of the most iconic villains of all time in portraying the evil Maleficent in the classic story of Sleeping Beauty. This time around you will get to know why the fairy Maleficent became evil incarnate and Angelina had fun fleshing out the character.
Known in real life for her amazing humanitarian work as a goodwill ambassador to 3rd world countries and people in need everywhere, and having undergone a double mastectomy to ward off possible breast cancer, Angelina is admired everywhere so it is a tribute to her acting ability that she is so convincing as a warped “baddie” in Maleficent.
The actress revealed that she also loved co-starring with her own tiny daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt who plays Princess Aurora at age 5 and she spoke about how she feels if her kids with Brad Pitt want to be actors. Let’s tune in for all things Maleficent.
Q: You are larger than life when you are in your costume and make up.
- Angelina: I think that was part of the thing with this role. You realize that there’s no halfway, that if you’re gonna do it, you’re gonna have to just fully get into it and enjoy it. And 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. They laughed, they cried and hid in a corner.
Q: Your own daughter Vivienne was in the movie. Were you reluctant to let her act in the film?
- Angelina: 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 4 or 5-year-old that I could be as strong with that would not see me as a monster.
- 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 she’s suddenly in the world of film.
Q: How did she like doing the role? Was it easy for her?
- Angelina: 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 (that later would be made a butterfly in computer) 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, and her brothers and sisters were kind of egging her on, and you know, she eventually did it but she was just taking her sweet time and not wanting to do it.
- But, when we got to our scene together, we’d kind of practiced it a little bit at home where I’d say, like “okay, I’m gonna say go away and then you try to get back” ... So by the time we did that we had a good time, we played together. I was actually shocked that she was doing so well. I was thinking “oh, she went back and hit her mark”, it’s frightening.
Q: Now would you let your other kids be in movies after this experience with Vivie?
- Angelina: I want them to do it for fun only, and if, when they get older they decide to be actors, I would just ask that it’s not the center of their lives, that it’s an aspect but that they also do many other things with their lives and are involved in many other things. Because I don’t think it’s a healthy focus as a center of your life.
Q: If this project came up 5 years ago, would the timing have been right for you? Would you have considered it?
- Angelina: I don’t know. I mean it’s such a great project I imagine I would always have considered it, but after having directed and thinking that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to act or how good I’d be, 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 so it was perfect timing to have them all on set, playing, being a part of the adventure with me. It was great for me as an actress to not do something where I’m taking myself so seriously but just play. Just remember what it is to play and entertain and try something bold.
Q: The character is so formidable and powerful. Was she intimidating to you?
- Angelia: 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 a bit nervous to take her on; a crazy idea I’m a fairy. 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 and it’s a little scary, that’s what we have to do as artists.
Q: Do you think adults underestimate with kids and teens can get out of a movie?
- Angelina: Well it was interesting, like my boys saw an early cut of Unbroken (a feature adaptation of a bestseller about the Olympic runner turned World War II bombardier Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days in a life raft only to be tortured for more than two years as a Japanese prisoner of war. Angelina directs the movie), the other day and I thought they would be talking about the sharks, and instead they asked me about one of the characters deaths.
- I was surprised by that (question). I think the depth of what children can handle and what they’re really interested in is much deeper than people assume. And it think it’s why sometimes we make things too simple for them. I think a film like this, people say, “is it too dark for children?” It’s not. They want to understand things that frighten them, they want to see dark things that happen and they want to see how to rise above them. They don’t want to be hidden from all things and have everything sweetened. I think that’s something that always surprises me about children.
Q: Could you describe the process of getting ready as Maleficent; the prosthetics, the makeup, the horns, everything?
- Angelina: It wasn’t that much. The creation of it took a little time to figure out how to do the horns, you know, 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. 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.
- 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 had feather hair at one point “well she’s a bird maybe she has feather hair instead of….”... Uh, but we finally got it. We just wanted to have a character that when you’re seeing the dramatic scenes, you feel that you can watch her and I can perform without people staring at the makeup. She had an enhanced face but it still felt like a real face somehow, that a soul could still come out through that face.
Q: Why did they add to your real nose?
- Angelina: Well my nose is not very strong. It can be like a cute nose. I wanted her to have a stronger nose so she has a little piece to make it less of a slope and more of a bump. We wanted everything to have like angles and not all the softness and make everything sharper and stronger.
Q: Was having kids now, a reason you wanted to play this part?
- Angelina: 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 the script and I was really moved by it and 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. It was, in fact, an important story to tell.
Q: How do you feel about the sticking power of this film? Some Disney films tend to live for the ages.
- Angelina: I hope so. You just never know, especially when you make something, you hope you make it the best it can be but you don’t know what’s going to last. This is the first day that I’ve been talking to people who’ve actually seen the movie. You just don’t know if the things you intended came across yet. I mean I would just love that. I think it is a really good story and I think it’s one that has good messages in it. It’s entertaining and all of that, but when we can make stories for children that they can walk away with having thoughts about things they didn’t normally think about or they learned a little something or felt heart warmed by something, then we’ve done something better.
Maleficent is in theaters May 30th!