Angelina Jolie worked very closely with the costume and make-up designers to develop Maleficent's menacing look. Disney executives objected, hoping to take advantage of Jolie's beauty in marketing the film, but the actress insisted that the character maintain the scarier look of the animated incarnation from Sleeping Beauty (1959).
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On the second day of the Disney D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, Saturday, 10 August 2013, Angelina Jolie admitted that she scared little kids while in costume on the set of Maleficent, with one kid actually saying, "Mommy, please get the mean witch to stop talking to me." She adds that her daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, who played young Aurora, was the only child who was not scared of her.
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Angelina Jolie performed her own stunts using harnesses for her flight and battle scenes.
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Maleficent's magic changes colour. When she is good, her magic is gold and when she is evil, her magic is green.
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Angelina Jolie based her character's speech and accent in homage of the original Sleeping Beauty (1959)'s Maleficent voice actor Eleanor Audley. Her laughter in the film was also based on the best variation she tried in front of her children and chosen by them.
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Angelina Jolie herself picked Lana Del Rey to sing Sleeping Beauty (1959)'s "Once Upon a Dream" for the end credits.
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Angelina Jolie admitted that she still has the pair of horns at home.
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The board game played by the three fairies is an actual game called nine-men's morris, which dates from ancient times and was very popular in medieval England.
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Vivienne Jolie-Pitt was chosen to play young Aurora because the director knew she would not be frightened by Maleficent because she knew it was her mother
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Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, who portrays Princess Aurora as a young girl, is the daughter of Angelina Jolie (who plays Maleficent in the movie) and Brad Pitt.
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Angelina Jolie was definitely interested to be in the movie to begin with. She repeatedly stated it was because 1.) she grew up on Disney movies as a child, especially Sleeping Beauty (1959); she was quite fond of the character Maleficent: "Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite," Jolie said. "I was terrified of her, but I was also drawn to her. I wanted to know more about her. She had this elegance and grace, yet she was wonderfully, deliciously cruel," 2.) her children wanted her to be in the movie, and she wanted to make a movie they could see her in, 3.) the beauty, warmth, complexity, and strong intelligence of the script, and 4.) she was very impressed with Maleficent's characterization for this film. In fact, Jolie also served as an executive producer on the film.
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All the actors and actresses in Maleficent were partly chosen to be in the movie based on their uncanny resemblances and/or likeness to their respective character counterparts in Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959).
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In order to give the the fairies a proper feeling of featherweight and agility, the three actresses who performs the fairies, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton and Juno Temple, spent three weeks filming motion capture, while being guided by artists of Cirque du Soleil. Lesley Manville called this experience "just fantastic".
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For Maleficent's horns, Angelina Jolie wore several headpieces with different weights. One headpiece was so heavy that Angelina would have neck pains right after and therefore was not appropriate for her more physically intensive scenes, such as her flight and battle scenes.
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Maleficent's crow companion is named Diaval (pronounced similarly to 'devil') and in the Disney cartoon version of Sleeping Beauty (1959), Maleficent's crow companion is named Diablo which means the same. In Irish lore crows are associated with the winged battle goddesses the Morrigan (they sound similar, as well, to Maleficent). In almost all other lore crows are associated with death, the dead, and trickery. Thus, they can be "devilish" birds.
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Diaval's make-up (in human form) consisted of "crow's feet" on his face and body; to reflect his true, avian nature.
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Angelina Jolie also said that "having a director (Robert Stromberg) coming from the world of production design really helped pull me into the fairy tale world. The film is beautiful but also has a sexy, dark edge because the story is coming from the point of view of a villain."
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Maleficent is a fairy but notably resembles more of a harpy, the hybrid, winged creature from the Greek and Roman mythologies with the parts of a woman and a bird.
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This film had the largest budget ever for a first-time director, Robert Stromberg, surpassing another Disney film, TRON: Legacy (2010).
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Peter Capaldi was cast as Maleficent's uncle but his role was cut from the final version.
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In the mid-2010s, Disney began releasing live-action adaptations of their classic animated films. "Cinderella" (2015) is usually described as the "first" live-action remake of an animated Disney film, though many fans and critics argue that "Maleficent" (2014), a remake of "Sleeping Beauty" (1959) from the villain's point of view, deserves this distinction. However, "101 Dalmations" (1996) was released almost 20 years before either of these films, and is actually the first true live-action adaptation of an animated Disney film.
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In June 2015 it was announced there will be a sequel to this film.
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The last major film of special makeup effects artist Rick Baker. After this film, he retired from the industry in 2015 due to lack of good work.
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Maleficent's prosthetics and make-up were inspired by singer Lady Gaga, particularly on her "Born This Way" album cover.
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Directorial debut of Robert Stromberg after serving as a visual effects supervisor on numerous films, including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), and more significantly, as a production designer of Avatar (2009), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013); the first two films earned him consecutive Academy Awards for Best Production Design.
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Although meant to be slightly older, Brenton Thwaites is actually 9 years older than his co-star Elle Fanning.
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Producers briefly toyed with the idea of reuniting Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy from Hocus Pocus (1993) as the three pixies for this film.
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On May 12, 2009, it was revealed that Brad Bird was developing a live-action motion picture based on Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959), retold from the point of view of Maleficent with Angelina Jolie starring as Maleficent. In January 2010, it was rumored that Tim Burton was to direct the film. Reports surfaced online in May 2011 stating that Burton had left the project to focus on his other upcoming projects; Disney began to look for a replacement director, with David Yates being cited as a potential candidate due to his experience with the fantasy genre, having directed the final four Harry Potter films. On January 6, 2012, Disney announced that Robert Stromberg would direct the film.
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Filmmaker Paul Dini was called in to re-draft the script alongside Linda Woolverton. He is considered one of the most influential and greatest figures of animation in the art form's history, due to his highly acclaimed work on Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Superman: The Animated Series (1996), Animaniacs (1993), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Tiny Toon Adventures (1990), Batman Beyond (1999), and Justice League (2001), which attracted the attention of the filmmakers. Dini, however, won't be credited for his contributions.
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Miranda Richardson was cast as Queen Ulla, but her role ended up being cut.
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Richard D. Zanuck offered to produce the film prior to his sudden death in 2012.
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Two of the respective actresses playing Young Maleficent and Young Princess Aurora, Isobelle Molloy and Eleanor Worthington-Cox, both played the title role in the London production of "Matilda: the Musical".
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Two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Golden Globe-winning producer Don Hahn was chosen to work on this film due to his work on Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), The Little Matchgirl (2006), and Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009), as well as being a tremendous admirer and enthusiast of the Disney legacy himself. He was also one of the most influential and important people to work at Walt Disney Animation Studios and to come from the Disney Renaissance. His passion and love for Disney earned him the position to executive produce Maleficent, a tribute to Sleeping Beauty (1959). This is also the first time that he worked on a mainstream live action feature film since the poorly received The Haunted Mansion (2003).
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India Eisley was originally cast as Young Maleficent and had filmed all of her location scenes when she was unceremoniously notified that the producers had "decided to go in another direction" with the character. All of her scenes were reshot with Isobelle Molloy. Eisley ended up playing Sleeping Beauty years later in The Curse of Sleeping Beauty (2016).
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Elle Fanning previously appeared opposite Angelina Jolie's husband Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).
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Angelina Jolie's performance in the film has been repeatedly singled out for praise by critics.
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The first collaboration film project with Don Hahn and Linda Woolverton since The Lion King (1994). In fact, Woolverton was chosen to co-write the script not just because of her work on Alice in Wonderland (2010), but also for her work on Disney animated classics Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Lion King, where Hahn and Woolverton got along very well on both of the productions.
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Imelda Staunton is the first actress portraying a witch (Dolores Umbridge) in the 'Harry Potter' film series to later play a Disney fairy godmother. Helena Bonham Carter who portrayed Bellatrix Lestrange in the 'Harry Potter' films is the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (2015).
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Elle Fanning first appears at the exact midpoint of the film's 88 minute runtime (excluding the credits).
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Angelina Jolie's Disney debut.
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Imelda Staunton was filming this movie during the day and starring in "Sweeney Todd" in London's West End at night.
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Logan Marshall-Green, George Blagden, Gael García Bernal, and Jim Sturgess were considered for the role that eventually went to Sam Riley.
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Maleficent says to Aurora, "Hello, Beastie"; which Jack Sparrow also says to the Kraken in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006).
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This film was nominated for best costume but lost to The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
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Unlike the original animated film, which was believed to be set in France in the border of Germany, due to the art style backgrounds being inspired by the French tapestries and some Western European artworks, this remake is believed to be set in Scotland near the English border, due to King Stefan speaking in a Scottish accent and the emphasis of the fairies with the Moors having a Celtic feel.
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According to The Los Angeles Times, Guillermo del Toro was said that he was considered to direct.
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Kristen Stewart was considered for the role of Aurora.
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The film's cast includes one Oscar winner: Angelina Jolie; and two Oscar nominees: Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville.
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Janet McEnteer plays Will Trainors mother in Me Before You is the narrator of Maleficent
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As a co-producer, Angelina Jolie insisted that the dialogue in Aurora's christening sequence has to be written word-by-word and based exactly from the original animated film Sleeping Beauty (1959) because she feels that it was the main core and setup of the entire film. But the new story does differ from the original scene because Maleficent originally cursed Aurora with death after pricking her finger. Then, the final fairy uses her gift to change the spell from death to slumber. There's also a blink-and-miss cameo (one second shot) of Jolie's two children, Pax Jolie-Pitt and Zahara Jolie-Pitt in that sequence as well.
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The name "Maleficent" is derived from Latin and literally means "evil doer". There is no reason given in the film for Maleficent, as a young, good fairy, to have such a name. When she does start to become destructive, the name matches.
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In this movie the roles of two of the good fairies are switched. Thistlewit (Juno Temple) wears green like Fauna, but is really the Merryweather equivalent and she is the one who is interrupted by Maleficent before bestowing her gift. Flittle (Lesley Manville) wears blue like Merryweather, but is really the Fauna equivalent and she blesses Aurora with the gift of eternal happiness. Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton) wears red and is the Flora equivalent. As in the original film, she blesses Aurora with the gift of eternal beauty.
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