Disclosure: This event and trip to LA was an all expense paid journey sponsored by Disney. All thoughts, experiences and opinions are 100% my own!
Earlier this week, I travelled to LA to attend a press junket with 24 other bloggers for the film Maleficent. This included a press screening of the film, and a sit down interview with Angelina herself.
The movie. I had super high expectations for this film. So much so, that I was concerned that I might be disappointed. I’ll be posting my review of Maleficent soon, but I can tell you right now, no joke: five minutes into the film, I knew that I already loved it. I literally declared to myself, “I already LOVE this film“. I don’t often fall this in love with movies/characters, but when I do, I fall fast and hard.
This film has a magic to it, like few do. It wraps itself around your heart and really makes you think about things. Important things. The types of things that can change who you are and the way that you choose to live your life.
The interview. Meeting and interviewing Angelina Jolie was a bit similar. I had high hopes and excitement, but mostly for the things that I expected her to be. Beautiful, strong, courageous and talented. I had already seen the movie, and was (am) completely in love with her as Maleficent, but really didn’t know what to expect from her as a person. Only minutes into the interview, I realized that she isn’t just a celebrity with beauty and talent, but she is also a very down to earth person with a wonderful outlook on the world around her. She is a mother (her eyes literally light up when she talks about her children), a wife (her eyes literally light up when she talks about her husband *duh*), a passionate actress (you could tell that she literally put so much of herself into this film and is very attached to this character) and even more so, she’s a woman who cares about the world and people around her.
But mostly, and this was an important take away for me: She is a mother. I arrived thinking that I was interviewing an actress who happened to be a mother, and I left knowing that she is a mother, who also just so happens to be a (fabulous) actress.
She is VERY passionate about this film and character. Once you see the movie, you will have a better understanding of Maleficent and who she is and WHY she is the way that she is. Hopefully this interview, will also give you a closer look at who Angelina is.
I love how Angelina speaks about her character, as you will see:
What brought you to play this character in a Disney film?
“I read this script and I was so moved by it. I was moved by it as a mother” ~Angelina Jolie
AJ: I read this script and I was so moved by it. I was moved by it as a mother. But I was also really moved by it because I thought of myself as a little girl, and I thought of all the kids I know, and I just think of being different, and also as a woman, feeling abused and this ideal that if you’ve ever been abused and then you kind of, as a woman, you put up a wall and you become darker and you’re not able to be this soft person that you were born to be. And then what could possibly ever bring you back? But the thing that brings her back is very much the thing that brought me back. And so, I was very, very connected to it.
“…you’re not able to be this soft person that you were born to be. And then what could possibly ever bring you back? But the thing that brings her back is very much the thing that brought me back.” ~Angelina Jolie
How much of the Maleficent story did you know before you read the script?
“I said, how could you possibly make a story where people have any connection to, or empathy for, somebody that curses a baby?” ~Angelina Jolie
AJ: I didn’t really know anything. I just, when I was a little girl, I was fascinated by her. I didn’t really identify with the princesses, at the time. Princesses have gotten a little more modern. I thought she was just, you know, it’s like a little kid seeing Marlene Dietrich for the first time. It was like seeing this elegant, powerful woman who seemed to be having a great time. I was a bit fascinated by her. And then there was a rumor that the movie was going to be made, and I got a call from my brother and he was like, “Ang, you’ve got to, you’ve got to make a call to Disney, you’ve got to try to get in on this.” So, I was very happy when I got the call. Just the idea of a Disney movie, having children and just being a big kid myself, and wanting to do a little bit of that was fun. I really didn’t know, I joked with Linda, I said, “How could you possibly make a story where people have any connection to, or empathy for, somebody that curses a baby? It’s just, it’s going to be impossible.” (laughs) I think she did an extraordinary job.
How long did it take you to get ready for filming?
AJ: I think it was about two and a half hours at the end of the day. Which wasn’t as bad, we had a great team. They’d work together, Tommy and Arjen, and we did it all at once. So wasn’t too bad.
Was the headpiece heavy?
AJ: They were so great, they were so sweet in that they worked so hard to make it not heavy. My hair was in these really funny little-little buns in order to get the head piece on. And then my hair was used as kind of the thing that held the head and the horns on. They made it very lightweight.
What did you think the first time you saw yourself in full makeup and costume?
AJ: I was really happy. I was. I was really happy because we went through a few stages where, in trying to find her, we had a few that weren’t so great, you know. There was a period where we thought, okay, well, she’s got wings, so she’s part bird fairy, maybe she had feather hair. So we went kind of in many, many different directions. And then at the end of the day, we kind of said, it has to be that, because it is a real film and she has real scenes and emotional scenes, it can’t be so much makeup that you’re starring at some pasted makeup.The soul has to come through. So it had to be very, enough to be a creature enough to be kind of worldly, but still be able to have very serious scenes. I think they did an amazing job.
“The soul has to come through” ~Angelina Jolie
How did you find your voice (as Maleficent)?
AJ: My kids helped me find it. I always tell stories. I tell them stories and I was giving them baths and I was doing this thing where a few nights in a row I would tell them stories in the bath. And I was trying out voices and a few they’d say, please stop. And then, you know, sometimes, they’d listen and they’d kind of be more engaged. And I kept trying and trying. And then I did that voice and they couldn’t stop laughing. And so I kept doing it more, and more, and more, and more, and more. So they still make me do it. I had to do it the other night for bedtime.
Angelina’s young daughter , Vivienne, is in the film. (above) I love that she will forever have this memory and moment with her mother (and vice-versa) caught on film.
What was it like working with her in the film?
AJ: It was a tough choice to do it. I mean, I think everybody knows the reason why I objected. But I was really scaring other kids. I kept thinking I was a Disney character and I’d want to talk to them. And they’d get mad and essentially leave. So we realized, what four or five year old little girl can I be really mean to, and it took us a while to make sure that that was an okay thing to do. But the other day, I just wanted to play with her. And it was really fun. The first day she had to catch the butterfly and, like any four year old, she just decided she didn’t want to. So there’s some really, really funny outtakes of Brad and I… I’ve actually got the stick with the blue ball, that’s supposed to be the butterfly and I’m kind of running in front of her. And Brad’s off the edge of the cliff, kind of trying to like dance and make her jump into his arms. And she made us work all for that. And the people at Disney did say it was the funniest dailies that they’d ever seen. And it exists somewhere, I haven’t seen them, I should get them. But it was lovely. Itwas lovely to do it.
On helping others. On motherhood. On kindness.
“The most important thing we do is we raise our children with love and compassion to become great people and thoughtful of others, and that’s the most important thing.” ~Angelina Jolie
AJ: Well I think the, you know, the most important thing we do (as moms) is we raise our children with love and compassion to become great people and thoughtful of others and that’s the most important thing. If everybody did just that, we’d have a very different world. And encourage our children’s education and help them to be conscious of the world around them. So I think mothers have the most powerful role. There was even examples of Taliban fighters who stopped because their mothers stopped them. Because the mothers became educated. They couldn’t stop the men, but they educate the mothers and the mothers got them back.
On humanitarian issues.
“And I think that’s what these things take, is it takes, it takes all of us very tightly working together.” ~Angelina Jolie
AJ: There’s a conference in June I’d love you to be aware of that I’m doing, the Foreign Secretary of England, June 10th-13th. Which is called PSBI, it’s the largest summit ever to end sexual violence in conflict. And it’s in England, it’s open to the public, but it’s in England. We’ve realized that it’s not just governments, and it’s not just NGO’s, everybody has to come together. So NATO will be there,peace keepers will be there, governments will be there, and it’s open to the public, and NGO’s, and victims, and doctors will be there. So everybody together will spend four days. And I think that’s what these things take, is it takes, it takes all of us very tightly working together.
*For more information on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict go here. Make sure to follow the End Sexual Violence in Conflict Facebook page and Twitter page to keep up to date with the latest news and information.
As a mom, humanitarian, entertainer …. how do you do it all?
“My mom was a single mom and she had a lot of difficulty and she gave up her dreams to like to make sure she could take me to my auditions and support me. And nobody acknowledged her for what she did, you know, so that was hard. But, you know, mine’s not too bad at all. I can’t complain.” ~Angelina Jolie
AJ: Well I don’t, you know. I’m at a very lucky position. I have a supportive partner and he and I are able to take turns working often. And when you make a film, it doesn’t take all year around. When I direct it does, but I get to decide when I leave in the morning and when I come home at night, and I can edit in my bedroom. So I have a very rare luxury with my job to be able to have my kids with me on set every day and home school, and other mothers have it much harder than I do, and don’t have the means, so I don’t feel like I, by any means, do anything exceptional. My mom was a single mom and she had a lot of difficulty and she gave up her dreams to like to make sure she could take me to my auditions and support me. And nobody acknowledged her for what she did, you know, so that was hard. But, you know, mine’s not too bad at all. I can’t complain.
My thoughts. I was truly moved by this experience. And not just because of meeting her. I think that it was a combination of seeing the film the night before the interview with her, and being moved by it. Moved to question things in my own life, and how easily hurt can turn to bitterness and anger and all of the things that go along with that (and oh-you-just have to see the movie!) but the jest of it is that we make choices in life to love or to hate, and ultimately we all really only want one thing.
Hearing Angelina speak about her own life, challenges, joys and children … it made me realize, that at the end of the day, we all have the same wants, needs, worries and dreams for ourselves and those that we love. Me, Angelina, and well, well … even Maleficent.
Remember, Maleficent is rated PG and hits theaters May 30th, 2014!!
Make sure to check out this awesome Maleficent clip:
A a very, very special thank you to the folks at Disney for this wonderful and once in a life time opportunity that I will NEVER forget!