Meeting Angelina Jolie to Talk About 'Maleficent' and Motherhood

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Maleficent via Disney Studios
Image via Disney Studios

What was it like working with Vivienne (her daughter, who plays young Aurora) in the film?

AJ: It was a tough choice to do it. I think everybody knows the reason why I objected, but I was really scaring other kids - but it’s not frightening for children.  I keep saying that, but I did scare. I kept thinking I was a Disney character and I’d want to talk to them.  And they’d get mad and essentially leave. So we realized what four or five year old little girl can I be really mean to and say things like, 'I don’t like children'? We realized it was probably Vivi.  It took us a while to make sure that that was an okay thing to do.  I just wanted to play with her, and it was really fun. The first day she had to catch the butterfly and, like any four year old, she just decided she didn’t want to.  So there’s some really, really funny outtakes of Brad and I. I’ve actually got the stick with the blue ball, that’s supposed to be the butterfly and I’m kind of running in front of her, and Brad’s off the edge of the cliff, kind of trying to like dance and make her jump into his arms.  And she made us work all for that.  It was the hardest working. The people at Disney did say it was the funniest outtakes that they’d ever seen.  And it exists somewhere, I haven’t seen them, I should get them.  But it was lovely to do it.

On Maleficent Hair and Makeup

How long did it take you to get ready for filming with the hair and makeup?

AJ: I think it was about two and a half hours at the end of the day.  We had a great team (lead by makeup artist Arjen Tuiten). So it wasn’t too bad.

Were the horns heavy?

AJ: They were so great. They (costumers) worked so hard to make it not heavy.  My hair was in these really funny little buns in order to get the head piece to stay and was used as kind of the thing that held the horns on.  They also had detachable horns, partially for weight, and also because I kept knocking myself out. I was about seven and a half foot high. So the first few days, I was just a complete mess.  So they made them magnetic, I could snap them.

What did you think the first time you saw yourself in full makeup and costume?

AJ: I was really happy because we went through a few stages where, in trying to find her, we had a few that weren’t so great. There was a period where we thought, 'okay, well she’s-she’s got wings, so she’s part bird fairy, maybe she had feather hair'.  So we went in many, many different directions.  And then at the end of the day, she has real scenes and emotional scenes, it can’t be so much makeup that you’re staring at some pasted makeup. The soul has to come through.  So it had to be enough to be a creature enough but still be able to have very serious scenes.  So I think they did an amazing job.

What did your kids think the first time they saw you in full costume?

AJ: I realized it was a bad idea, it was bad parenting on my part that I should have brought them in early and have them watch me get in my makeup.  But I thought it would be really fun to surprise them.  Some of them were fine, they just got a little quiet. Pax ran away from me.  And I made the mistake of thinking he was playing a game and I chased after him.  And then realized he was upset. And so he had to come in the makeup trailer and watch me take everything off.  

It was interesting because we actually wondered about Maleficent, why is she considered the most evil?  I mean, obviously she what she does, but what is it about children that they see her, and I think that’s what happened to my children.  It was that because it’s a woman, and an older woman, it's mom.  And to my kids it was that a woman that should be nurturing was now the figure that was slightly terrifying. The mom had disappeared and they were really wanting to know where mom went. I think that’s actually why she’s particularly disturbing for children.  And why maybe children will embrace her  because it does feel that you should be safe with an older woman.

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