Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil is the sequel to the 2014 alternative fantasy which gave audiences a new perspective on everyone’s favorite sorceress. Set five years after the first film, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) finds herself having to give Aurora (Elle Fanning), her besty and queen of the moors, away to Prince Phillip (Harrison Dickinson), who has just proposed to her. Although the two are deeply in love, Maleficent isn’t so convinced given her past history with humans. Her disdain only deepens when she is invited to meet Prince Phillip’s parents at a cordial dinner, where Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), his mother, subtly disrespects the all-powerful sorceress and plans to use the wedding as a means for the humans to go to war against the fairies.
Geeks Of Doom was invited so sit down with their fellow journalists at the official Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil press conference, where Jolie, Pfeiffer, and Fanning all talked about their characters, making a fairy tale feel modern, and more.
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil will depict three women of power in very different ways. There is a protective mother who has to learn how to let her child go that is represented in Maleficent. Then there is the flip side of that in Queen Ingrith, who will use her power and manipulation to start a war between the fairies and humans. And, finally, there’s Aurora, who symbolizes the good and the kindness in the world, and how she uses those two things as a strength.
“I think that is one of the interesting things about this film. Yes, it is a fairy tale, but at the same time, it is a very unusual fairy tale,” Pfeiffer said about coming onto the sequel. “What I loved about it was that I played in this gray area, and it talked about good versus evil and that all of us have a little bit of everything in us. And in terms of strength, and how that manifests itself differently in everyone. One of the things we loved about Aurora’s character, in many ways, is ultimately she is the strongest and wisest of all of us. My character is really brilliant and diabolical, but I wouldn’t consider her terribly wise.”
While there may be a vulnerability to wisdom, it is something that you probably wouldn’t see in something like Queen Ingrith. Without getting too cerebral about it, Pfeiffer described Ingrith as “damaged.” She said:
“Nobody behaves that way unless they are incredibly damaged on some level. She doesn’t wear it on her sleeve, I guess. But, in some ways, what she resorts to is really truly out of a very deep fear.”
For Fanning, she sees Aurora as a person who lives in between both worlds as a human who is also the queen of the moors. But there is this natural progression as a character that she goes through from the first film to the second, where she is stronger and has more conviction in herself than she had in Maleficent. “She’s learning how to gain her independence,” Fanning said.
“I love the family theme in the movie because it is very realistic to the real life of growing up, separating, leaving the nest, making your own choices in life,” Fanning said. “But we know that Aurora stands up to Maleficent, which is a very strong moment in the film, too. I think it might be shocking for fans to see that, but Aurora is taking charge of her own life, but with kindness, which is the most powerful of all.”
The tone thing that Fanning appreciated about showing off Aurora’s strength through kindness was not to have her character in armor and wielding a sword. “A lot of films they put in her armor, and she has a sword, and she’s fighting, and that makes her strong, and that is not Aurora’s true nature,” Fanning said. “I love that she symbolizes that for young girls. I was that young girl. I was always soft, and wanted to be a mom, and wanted to get married and be very feminine, and there is nothing wrong with that. So we get to show the strength in accepting your femininity, and Aurora does it a pink dress. Very badass.”
While Jolie agrees that the sequel is about family, she believes that it is also about more than just that concept. “Aurora and Maleficent were first brought together and became a family,” Jolie said. “They weren’t really expecting it, but we are different. We’re different creatures and so there are metaphors in the film. There are metaphors in the film and, not to be heavy about it, but I think a good film for young people has these messages.”
Jolie also sees how the sequel may parallel her real life. “There’s a real question in the film – we get pulled apart, and people tell us because you are not the same, you are not family,” she said. “Because you are not exactly like her, you are not her mother. That certainly strikes a chord with me. I think Maleficent questions whether or not she is good enough to be a mother and whether she is her mother.”
The actress then took that a step further with how people identify themselves as and now focusing on differences may be more toxic than it is beneficial. “There’s a real push to say this is not how it should be and this is not how to live,” she said. “Diversity makes us stronger, and there must be a better way forward and we have to come together.”
And the film’s strong and beautiful message tells its audience that they should be their true selves and accept others who may be slightly different for who they are and not ask them to change. “To be your true self, this is who we are,” Jolie said. “We are the pretty pink beautiful soft princess, and we also are the slightly manic creature that maybe has a very bad temper. And yet, I see her exactly as she is, and I don’t want her to be any different than she is. And she sees me as I am, and she accepts me as I am. It is to say, to everybody, be yourself. Be your true self. You don’t live forever. Say to children: ‘No matter how people see you or say how you should be, you will suffocate, be your true nature. Whatever that may be, and you will find a home for it, and you will find acceptance.'”
When it comes to the concept of love and self-sacrifice, Jolie firmly believes that people are not here “just to simply exist.” She said, “You have to know what you stand for, what you are willing to fight for, and what you are willing to die for.” She then expanded on those adding, that if a person knows what they are willing to fight for, that they must be able to embrace the pain that comes with sacrifice, and if they do, it actually fills that person with purpose.
And though Jolie has been through some difficult moments in her life, she saw reprising her role as Maleficent as a chance to be “happy to feel strong again and to have some fun.” She added:
“I adore being her. There’s just something about her. I’m very proud to be associated with her.”
Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil opens in theaters on October 18, 2019.