Actress Angelina Jolie quite literally got her hands dirty in preparation for her new film Maleficent – digging her fingers into soil at the bottom of a potted plant to get into character.
Jolie plays the bewitching title character in this Disney re-imagining of the original Sleeping Beauty tale, in which the evil fairy takes centre stage.
“I remember vividly early on in the process, Angelina was working with her acting coach and she was feeling the soil in the bottom of a potted plant because her character had to grow out of this fairy world,” Disney executive producer Don Hahn tells RadioTimes.com.
“She was really motivated by where she came from and who she was as a character.”
The movie was built around Jolie, with the actress coming onto the project as both Maleficent and a producer, in the very early stages.
“There was never anyone else. We never considered or talked about anyone else. She was really able to shape her character and what the character would be and what her origins were. I think that brought so much to this movie.
“That’s kind of who Angelina is, she really works from the inside out.”
Jolie and the team certainly put the effort in, with prosthetics work as well as hours spent attaching those iconic horns, to create the Maleficent look.
“Once they were on they were on,” Hahn said of the twisted horns. “[Angelina] worked with them to create these things. They were made out of material, so they weren’t that heavy. But they did take a long time to get on, so it was the kind of thing once you were wearing them you were going to wear them for a long time.
“So a lot of it was trying to schedule her so she could get as much work done while she was in make-up as possible.”
The demands on Jolie didn’t stop at maneuvering headgear of course. Not just a producer and actress on set, Jolie was a mum too, as her own five-year-old daughter Vivienne was cast as a young princess Aurora – mainly, Jolie admitted at the London press conference, because she was the only child not to run screaming when she saw her in costume…
“There’s beautiful scenes in the movie where her daughter runs up to her and is fearless, because it’s mummy. It was luck for us as filmmakers but a really sweet moment for everybody on the set,” reveals Hahn.
There has indeed been chatter among those who have seen early screenings that the film is actually too scary for children.
Hahn, rather poetically, says, “Great storytelling has great villains and great villains do scary things.
“Just like we love going on a rollercoaster and being scared, this movie is a real rollercoaster of an adventure and I think that’s what audiences love.”
Maleficent is in cinemas from Wednesday 28 May. Plus, look out for The Disney Villains Collection and the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition (available on Disney Blu-ray and DVD) from 2 June