Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is the sequel to the 2014 global hit, which grossed more than $750 million. The movie starred Angelina Jolie as the dark fairy whose thirst for vengeance resulted in cursing an infant princess, Aurora. But it was also Maleficent’s love that broke the spell.
As the story continues, Maleficent and her goddaughter, Aurora (Elle Fanning) are pulled in different directions as Aurora’s wedding to Prince Philip of Ulstead draws near.
The hatred between man and the fairies of the neighboring Moor still exist, and the coming of the Great War threatens to destroy Maleficent’s and Aurora’s relationship, as they are forced to choose sides. Michelle Pfeiffer joins the cast as Queen Ingrith, Prince Phillip’s mother and Maleficent’s nemesis.
Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer were at the press conference for the movie, which opens on October 18th, 2019.
Angelina, you’ve had an incredible career. I read that Maleficent is the biggest box office hit of all your movies. Can you talk about what you think people responded to?
Angelina Jolie: As an actor, it’s strange, you put yourself forward and somebody says, ‘That’s very you. And you think, ‘Really, is it?’ When I got a call and they said,’We thought you were the only person that could play Maleficent,’ you just think, ‘I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to take that.’
And yet I love her. So maybe I just need to fully embrace it at this time in my life. I’ve been through different things and I was so happy to feel strong again and to have to fun. I adore being her. There’s something about her that I’m now very proud that I’m associated with her.
Michelle, this is a fairy tale but it feels very modern. Can you talk about coming into this story which features three women who are very different in their power?
Michelle Pfeiffer: I think one of the interesting things about this film is that it is a fairy tale, but it’s a very unusual one. It’s what I loved about the first film, it was so surprising. It played in this grey area and it talked about good versus evil. We all of us have a little bit of everything in us.
I think in terms of strength and how that manifests itself, it’s different in everyone. One of the things we loved about Aurora’s character is that, in many ways, she’s the strongest and the wisest of all of us. My character is really brilliant, and diabolical, but I wouldn’t consider her terribly wise.
I think she’s damaged, without getting too cerebral about the whole thing. Nobody behaves that way unless they’re incredibly damaged on some level. She just doesn’t wear it on her sleeve, I guess. In some ways what she resorts to is truly, at the end of the day, out of a very deep fear.
This film looks at villains in a new light. Are there any iconic movie villain performances that you are particular fans of or took inspiration from?
Angelina: I like Michelle as Catwoman.
Michelle: The first thing that came to mind was Heath Ledger in Batman as the Joker. I didn’t take that as inspiration, but he’s my favorite villain.
The villains that you’ve played have been very eclectic and memorable. Did you see Ingrith as an opportunity to top what you’ve done before?
Michelle: No, I’ve never actually looked at a part that way. I enjoyed playing this [and] was really delighted and surprised when I read the script. I was excited just at the notion of working with (Angelina and Elle).
This is actually a really interesting, great part [and] I think you just approach them all differently. I had a lot of fun doing this and I felt like I had a lot of freedom to try and bring some other colors, try to find the humanity.
It may not appear at first blush that Ingrith is willing to sacrifice anything. But she is obviously willing to sacrifice her son, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him. It’s complicated!
Angelina, in this movie Maleficent struggles a lot with Aurora leaving home. Your son went to a university recently. Did this role prepare you to deal with it in real life?
Angelina: To be very honest, Maddox was so ready, and he’s doing so well. I was the most moved because he spent these days with me as I thought I was preparing him to go. I was making sure he had the right shoes, jacket, the right glasses. You’re working so hard as a mother, and you think, I’m really helping him.
Then at the airport he stayed with me a bit longer, where he could have left. I kept thinking, ‘He wants to be with me a little longer, that’s so sweet. And then he looked at me and he said, ‘Are you okay?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I realized the entire week was all for me. He was just making sure I was okay. He gave me a really big hug, because he knew I needed it. And I knew that he was okay, because he was the kind of man that knew what I needed and he gave it to me in a loving way. I left feeling proud, but I did cry a few times.