Disclosure: Disney Pictures provided me with admission to a pre-screening for Maleficent, as well as the opportunity to attend the round table press day with Sam Riley.
I attended a pre-screening for Maleficent last week, and have had to hold my tongue regarding the awesomeness that is this movie…until now! With it’s official release today, I can tell you that it is amazing! I had been waiting for the release of Maleficent for months, and was overjoyed when I was invited to attend a pre-screening of the movie.
I also had the opportunity to interview Sam Riley, who plays Diaval in the film. Diaval is Maleficent’s sidekick and confidant throughout the movie. The interview process was a lot of fun, and he provided lots of wonderful insight into the film and the roles. But before things got started, we had to accessorize: Upon entering the room, Sam asked us all to put on the plastic Maleficent horns we were given, and of course we obliged! Here are some of the things Sam shared with us.
How the relationship between Maleficent and Diaval develops:
“At first the relationship is servile and he’s scared of her. They are going to spend every single day with each other for 16 years, and that’s a lot for any relationship, that’s a very long relationship in Hollywood! I’m the only person who’s more or less her sole companion for that time. We thought it would be fun to develop a certain element of bickering and them getting on each others’ nerves, but also the mask that she wears of coldness slips in front of him because he sees moments of vulnerability. Over time he can start to occasionally point that out to her with the courage that grows from of long relationship.”
About working with Angelina Jolie:
She brought an edge to the character, not only with her ideas of the costume, with the leather…it’s pushing the boundaries–she loved Maleficent as a girl, she didn’t like Aurora. She’s born to play it [the role].
How he prepared for the role:
He has played “the darker sides of people” before in the independent films he’s been in. He spent some time with ravens, he watched him, filmed him and worked with a movement coach to take on the elements of his personality and movements to use towards the human incarnation of Diaval. This process helped him realize that “even when I’m a man, I consider myself first and foremost a bird”.
About the movie itself:
“It’s a classic family film, it’s a bit scary…they (Disney) pushes the boundaries, kids want to be thrilled, they don’t necessarily want to be terrified.”
About future roles:
Sam and his wife had a son early this year. When I asked him if, now that he’s a father, is he more inclined to work on more family films, and Disney films specifically, instead of the roles he’s played in the past in independent type of films, he joked that it’s nice that he’s been in a film his son can see before he’s 18. He is hopeful that this role will provide other opportunities for him to work in these sorts of films, but one of the great things of doing film is that you devote yourself to a character for a limited amount of time, and then move on to the next. Whether he takes on work more often to have the family be more secure is one thing, but at the same time he wants his son to know that his father took roles that meant something to him, not just for the sake of working.
More about the film:
I want to avoid spoilers, because it is truly a film you have to see for yourself. You will expect a movie filled with evil and darkness, and there is a bit of that, but there is also a tale about love, revenge, redemption, and the fine line between good and evil.You will be familiar with some characters, like Aurora, the three fairies who watch over her until her 16th birthday, and of course Maleficent, but you will also be introduced to the Moors, a magnificent land with inhabitants and surroundings that are pure Disney magic. There will also be things you didn’t expect: this is Maleficent’s story, not Aurora’s, and everything is not what it seems.
Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent with perfection. From the moment rumors were circulating two or three years ago that she’d been chosen as Maleficent, I knew she was meant to play the role. I’m even more assured of this after seeing the film and the way the character develops.
In a nutshell, Disney pictures has done it once again. They have taken a classic story, given it a few twists and turns, and turned it into something spectacular!
Maleficent is rated PG, and does have a few scary parts. I think children over the age of 7 will enjoy it most. It is definitely a film to go see with the entire family. It opens today, so please go catch it and come back and let me know what you think!