Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens in theaters next week, and we recently got a chance to attend the press conference for the film. Participating were director Joachim Rønning and Mistress of Evil cast members Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson and Ed Skrein.
Opening in theaters on October 18, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a fantasy adventure that picks up several years after Maleficent, in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora. The film continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.
Rønning spoke about expanding the universe after the first film. He said, “Yeah, it’s always a fine line, in regards to what to keep from this beloved universe. You want to keep a lot of what’s important to the fans, and at that same time, for me, as a filmmaker, it’s important to make something original, and take Maleficent to the next level and make Maleficent 2.0.” He continued, “[a lot of] the success of the first film was that it had such a strong emotional core and I think that was the most important thing for me, to continue telling that story. The story of Maleficent and Aurora. That’s a story I relate to as a parent myself.”
Ejiofor, who plays the role of Conall, spoke about joining the cast this time around. He said, “I mean, there were so many layers to the preparation for this, obviously, before I met anybody from the cast and the crew, You know, I create the character in isolation, analyzing the script, and doing the kind of intellectual side of it… once I came in, and we started to go through the process of prosthetics… the first makeup test I did was 10-and-a-half-hours. We got it down to about four-and-a-half-hours by the end, but going through that every morning, that process of… the cheekbones, the eyes, the skin, you know, the clothes finishing with the contact lenses, you’ve gone through the physical transformation. And so I was kind of physically informed by that process. And then you come out with standing opposite these incredible actors,” he said, praising the rest of the cast.
Pfeiffer plays Queen Ingrith, the mother of Prince Phillip. The character takes issue with Maleficent, and Pfeiffer spoke about what drew her to the role. She said, “It’s a very unusual fairy tale… and I loved that it played in this grey area and it talked about good vs. evil, and all of us have a little bit of everything in us, and in terms of strength, it manifests differently in all of us. I mean, my character is really brilliant and diabolical, but I wouldn’t consider her terribly wise, and I like the way it plays out.”
We learned during the conference that Jolie and Fanning would have ping pong tournaments to relax, though Pfeiffer joked that she wasn’t invited. Jolie spoke about some of the changes in her character this time around. Aurora is engaged to Prince Phillip in the new film, and Maleficent isn’t taking the news well after her experience in a relationship. She said, “Aurora and Maleficent were first brought together and became a family, and Maleficent was harmed in her life and lost herself and lost her ability to be soft, and to feel loved, and you know it certainly happened in my life, the love of a child, being a mother brought out something in me that transformed me.” She spoke about bringing her first child Maddox to college, and how lovely he was to her. She explained that she thought she was taking care of him, helping him to adjust, then realizing he was the one helping her get through it.
Jolie also spoke about her film family. “There are metaphors in the film, not to be heavy about it… people tell us [Maleficent and Aurora] because we’re not the same, we’re not family, because you’re not exactly like her, you’re not her mother, and that certainly strikes a chord with me. We go through this period in the film where everyone is focused on their differences, but then there’s a real push to say this is not how it should be, and this is not how to live, and diversity makes us stronger, and there must be a better way forward. And so we come together and we fight against this separation and we unite, and we say ‘this is the world we choose to live in.'”
Fanning spoke to the crowd about Aurora and who she is now. She explained, “I think Aurora symbolizes the good and the kindness in the world and the acceptance, and that was really shown in the first film because she’s younger and much more innocent, but still introduced to some dark things. But that does carry over into the second film, of her embodying this overwhelming love of life. She lives in both worlds… she lives harmoniously with both sides and doesn’t understand why the world can’t do that.”
She gave us more of a look at who this young woman has become. “I think it might be shocking for fans to see that because Aurora is taking charge of of her own life, but with kindness, which is the the most powerful of all. We didn’t want Aurora to be…[in] a lot of films, they put her an armor and [she] has a sword, and she’s fighting, like makes her strong…that’s not Aurora’s true nature. And that isn’t necessarily true. I love that she symbolizes that for young girls. Like I was that girl. And I was always soft, and wanted to be a mom. And I wanted to get married and I was very feminine, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And so we get to show the strength in accepting your femininity.”
Disney‘s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will hit theaters on October 18. Are you guys excited for the film? Let us know in the comments.