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Girl in a jacket

Angelina Jolie ignites screen as iconic villain “Maleficent”

Angelina Jolie in the role of the title character of Disney’s new fantasy adventure “Maleficent” was a decision made somewhere far above the normal casting confines.

“Even before I became involved with this project, I’d heard Angelina’s name attached and I thought, ‘What perfect casting,’” recalls director Robert Stromberg. “You can just look at her picture and Maleficent’s image and see it is a marriage made in heaven.”

“I loved Maleficent when I was a little girl,” says Jolie. “She was my favorite Disney character. I was afraid of her and I loved her.

“I was really moved by the script from first reading,” adds Jolie on why she accepted the part. “It was like uncovering a great mystery. We all know the story of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and we all know Maleficent and what happened at the christening because we’ve all grown up with that. But what we’ve neverknown is, what happened before?”

“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

Maleficent is a complex character with many layers; she is driven by revenge yet she fiercely protects the land she loves and all who dwell there. Speaking of the character and what she would like audiences to take away, Jolie says, “I hope the girls, especially, will see the importance of having a sense of justice and a sense of what’s fair and what’s worth fighting for. They’ll see that they can be warriors and atthe same time soft and feminine and deeply feeling, with all the complexities women have.”

Working with Angelina Jolie was an “incredible” experience for co-star Sharlto Copley who plays Stefan. “Just meeting her right from the beginning, from the rehearsal stage, we have a similar energy and similar intensity in our work,” comments Copley. “We communicate in a similar way as well. She’s very smart about story and about filmmaking. She’s not just an actress; she directs as well and is very aware of the whole film and all aspects of the film and what’s going on. I felt very privileged, very honored, to get the chance to do this film with her.”

Having the opportunity to work with Jolie was also exciting for teenaged actress, Elle Fannig who portrays Princess Aurora. “It’s really been amazing,” enthuses Fanning. “I remember meeting her for the first time in London. I had never met her before, and she gave me a big hug. She said we were just going to have so much fun together. And we did have a lot of fun. It’s been great.”

Actor Sam Riley who plays Diaval, Maleficent’s loyal companion agrees that “Angelina’s absolutely perfectly cast and you can’t really imagine anybody else working today in the part. Also the fact that she is who she is lends this grandness to it.”

Stromberg concludes, “Angelina is a really hard worker, very dedicated. She took on this role and just commanded it and took charge. It’s exciting to have someone with that much passion working side by side with me on the character. She embraced it and really became Maleficent.”

Opening across the Philippines on May 28 in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D formats, “Maleficent” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

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