Maleficent didn't take flight in 1959's Sleeping Beauty, but thanks to Maleficent, viewers will see a whole new side of the iconic fairy-tale character. In this exclusive clip from Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming movie starring Angelina Jolie, she spreads her wings and soars freely through the clouds.
For everyone involved, it was important to honor the animated classic. "I think it was both the greatest pleasure and extreme challenge to have such an extraordinary original, and we wanted to make sure we did justice to it and paid respect to what was done before," Jolie said during a press conference in Paris May 8.
"Maleficent, I loved her when I was a child. I was scared of her, but I loved her. I was fascinated by her...It was a beautiful script, written by Linda Woolverton, and the goal was not just to entertain children or to retell a story," the star explained. "The goal was to try to see if these deeper themes of really understanding who somebody was, not judging them by what they seem to be."
Certain scenes will be familiar, Jolie added. "The christening, for example, is something that's the center of our film. And the christening itself we wanted to stay as true to as possible, so that was kind of our center point," she said. "What then led to the christening became a new discovery, but it had to lead to that particular christening, and what happens after would be the effect of that moment."
Maleficent will make viewers question everything they knew about the titular character.
"Is she even evil?" Jolie asked. "She does evil things. She gets in a point in her life where because of what happens to her, the circumstances of her life. She becomes somebody who is full of hate, and becomes a vengeful, horrible, hateful person, and takes it out on an innocent child. She loses her humanity."
The movie star added, "I think it's nice to use these stories that we are familiar with to try to touch on deeper themes, bigger things. The nice thing that Linda did is I remain a villain but there just might be more to her. Maybe it's not so easy and it's not so black-and-white what someone is."
Elle Fanning, who plays Princess Aurora, said Jolie was the perfect person to play Maleficent. Jolie revered the character as a child and was delighted to add some depth. "When I read the script I felt like I had stumbled upon a secret truth and a deeper story. I really connected to her and I really wanted to play her, not just for the fun of doing it, but because I really thought it was a great story, a great film," the 38-year-old said. "I actually immediately took my kids and told them, 'I have a secret, and I want to tell you something about what really happened.' I saw how they reacted, so that told me a lot. For me, the most exciting thing is that my kids are so excited right now."
Maleficent is in theaters May 30.
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