Magnificent Maleficent

Angelina Jolie stars as Maleficent in this month’s Maleficent, the retelling of the classic story, Sleeping Beauty.  It is certainly nothing we’ve ever seen before and definitely a movie that will set you on a journey of imagination. Let’s take a look at some interesting fun facts about the movie.

Disney's "Maleficent" Baby Aurora Ph: Film Still ©Disney 2014

“Maleficent” has classic appeal that derives from the Sleeping Beauty fable, which evolved—under different titles—over approximately 400 years. The early written origins of the story can be traced from the French novel “Perceforest” (author unknown) written in 1527.

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The character Maleficent was a Disney creation first introduced in their 1959 animated feature “Sleeping Beauty,” which took 10 years to make and cost $6 million. It was the most expensive movie the studio had made to that point.

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“Maleficent” began production on June 11, 2012, at England’s famed Pinewood Studios where most of the filming took place. It took five months of shooting on six sound stages and thousands of yards of back lot and paddock area to complete principal photography.

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The castle was a physical realization, both interior and exterior, of the castle in the 1959 animated film. It is grand in scale with marble floors and 16th century materials and finishes and is furnished with antiquities. It took 14 weeks to build, employing some 250 construction workers and an art department of about 20 people.

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Seven-time Academy Award®–winner Rick Baker heads the special effects makeup team, which was responsible for Angelina Jolie’s horns and cheeks prosthetics as well as all the other special character makeup.

Baker and his team sculpted three different sets of horns around the look of the original animated Maleficent. The horns are made of urethane casting resin, which is lightweight and durable. In order to have all of Angelina Jolie’s prosthetics conform to the angles of her face, the team made a life cast of her head and formed rubber cheekbones and ears along those contours. For star Angelina Jolie, the entire application process for all the prosthetics took about four hours every morning.

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Sam Riley, who plays the shape-shifting Diaval, met with movement experts who helped him study the movements of ravens. Riley admits that those hours of training were some of the most embarrassing he had ever spent preparing for a film, especially running around a huge room flapping his arms and making cawing noises. With contact lenses to make his eyes black and feathers in his hair, even the human form of Diaval has an avian element.

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Angelina Jolie worked with milliners to design the headdresses she wears in the film to cover her horns. There are six different head coverings, including the python skin summer look and the christening look with its Napa leather covered horns and stingray skin accents.

Maleficent opens in cinemas 29 May 2014

Images courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Singapore

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