Fairy tale reboots have been all the rage in Hollywood since dueling Snow White projects Mirror Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman swept the box office back in 2012 and were swiftly followed by last year’s Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Oz the Great and Powerful. Major studios aren’t over the trend just yet, with films like fairy-tale modge-podge Into the Woods and a Cinderella reboot in the works, but the revisionist fairy tale we’re most looking forward to is definitely this summer’s Maleficent.
Set to hit theaters in May, the tale charts the origins of the Sleeping Beauty sorceress (embodied by Angelina Jolie) and examines her descent into evil. Speaking with EW, the actress recently shed some light on the challenges of playing such an iconic villain. Discussing the goals of the film, she explained:
“The exercise wasn’t how can we have fun with a villain?… It was: What turns people evil and vile and aggressive and cruel? What could have possibly happened to her?”
She added that Maleficent is more a product of her mistakes than a character who starts out as purely evil, stating:
“When that character makes mistakes — which Maleficent does, and crosses many lines — you want them to be angry at her and concerned and confused and in the end, somehow understand something that they didn’t know before.”
Jolie noted her challenge in introducing her young children to a new take on the character but says that she found her son Shiloh’s reaction encouraging.
“I said, ‘Let me tell you the real story but you can’t tell anybody… So this was my test too, like any parent. The next day, I heard Shiloh getting into a fight with another kid, defending Maleficent, saying, ‘You don’t understand her!’ They got into a bit of an argument and I thought, that’s the reason to do the film.”
Once she was firmly on board, Jolie set to work bringing her children into the fold. In the film, which marks the directorial debut of special effects artist Robert Stromberg, she gets the opportunity to act alongside five-year-old daughter Vivienne, who plays Princess Aurora as a young girl. The pair are pictured above in an exclusive image premiered by EW.
“We think it’s fun for our kids to have cameos and join us on set, but not to be actors,” said Jolie. “That’s not our goal for Brad and I at all… But the other 3- and 4-year-old [performers] wouldn’t come near me. It had to be a child that liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv.”
We’ll have to wait until this summer to see whether Maleficent is a truly enjoyable reinterpretation of the classic character, but I’m excited given what we already know about the film. It seems like the story will come at the sorceress from a completely new perspective, and the film also includes an impressive supporting cast, with actors like Sharlto Copley, Juno Temple, Elle Fanning, Brenton Thwaites and Peter Capaldi.
Check out the new image above, as well as Entertainment Weekly’s cover below, and let us know, are you excited to see Jolie take on such a beloved (or, perhaps more accurately in this case, feared) character?
Maleficent opens on May 30th.