We have become more used to seeing Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie sans make-up, dressed down and talking passionately about world issues that are close to her heart. But in a rare interview with UK’s Ben Shephard on Good Morning Britain, the normally private mother of six children, including three that she and Brad Pitt have adopted, spoke candidly about her new role in the Disney remake of Maleficent.
Jolie plays the lead role of Maleficent, the villain of the film who hates children, alongside her five year-old daughter Vivienne. The film is a far cry from Jolie’s normal gritty roles, but apparently the actress has been a fan of the villain since her childhood. She told Shephard that as a child she has always loved the story of Maleficent and couldn’t wait to play the role on film: “I loved her when I was a little girl. I was fascinated by her. I don’t think I’d seen a woman that powerful, and she enjoys being evil – she’s not kind of reluctantly evil and deeply tortured, she’s embraced it and she’s having a lot of fun with it, and hopefully the audience will have a lot of fun with her.”
Maleficent is a remake of the original Disney story but the storytellers have not strayed too far from the book, as not to alienate the diehard Disney fans, as Jolie explains: “The fans of Disney – you wouldn’t want to disappoint them. She was already so wonderful, why would you change it.”
As for the role of the young Aurora that her daughter Vivienne came to play, Jolie told Shephard that it was not favouritism that led to her casting. In fact, the reason the youngster bagged the role was because other children who were auditioning for the role were scared of her. Jolie however found that she was able to say anything to Vivienne who still kept smiling because she knew her mother loved her. Jolie explained: “It’s not easy because I actually have to say to her things like, ‘I don’t like children, go away’ – how can you say that to your own kid in the big devil horns and a staff? Fortunately because she is my kid – and that’s why we cast her because other kids were scared of me – I could say anything and I could look as scary as they come and she would just smile at me like ‘I don’t care, I love you’.”
Having Vivienne in the film was not the only source of inspiration Jolie drew from her children, as she was also influenced by the types of bedtime stories she tells her kids, and the characters they are entertained by. And apparently her children helped her to perfect her crisp British accent by asking her to do it time and time again at home: “They do actually make me do it at home now. They make me do it all the time – my little Knox loves the voice, so I’ll tell him a bedtime story and he always wants me to do it as Maleficent.” Jolie practised the timbre and tone by listening to British theatre actresses.
‘Maleficent’ is released May 28