A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday. The husband planned a surprise trip to San Francisco, with the flight arriving back home on Sunday night late. Coming back from a vacation is always a mixed bag. It’s nice to sleep in your own bed, but then reality quickly sinks in, and before you know it, you’re right back at the grind you wanted to take a vacation from.
Not so when the first thing you have to wake up for, after only five hours of sleep, is a press junket. Even better when it’s a Maleficent 2 cast interview.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Disney’s latest live-action movie, hits theaters this Friday, October 18. I attended the red carpet premiere (you can read more about that star-studded night here) and was entranced by the movie. The continuation of the story of Maleficent and Aurora ups the wit, the humor and the growth of the relationship between the Princess and the woman who raised her.
Director Joachim Ronning and all the major players were in attendance at the Maleficent 2 cast interview:
· Angelina Jolie (“Maleficent”)
· Michelle Pfeiffer (“Queen Ingrith”)
· Elle Fanning (“Princess Aurora”)
· Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Conall”)
· Sam Riley (“Diaval”)
· Harris Dickinson (“Prince Phillip”)
· Ed Skrein (“Borra”)
This second part of the Maleficent story line was a blend of old characters, and new characters, starting with the director. Joachim Ronning didn’t direct the first movie, so coming into an already well-known story line posed some challenges. The biggest, according to Joachim, was successfully continuing the strong emotional focus of the movie.
Another new character is that of Borra, played by Ed Skrein. Not only was he new, but he had to portray a character heavily in costume, all the way down to unique contacts and attire in a very physical role while segueing into a pre-existing cast.
While the movie’s title implies that Maleficent is the Mistress of Evil — and she is — there is so much more to her role, and this movie delves into that. Michelle addresses the overall good vs evil feel in one of her responses, sharing how she loved the movie so much because of the fact that it plays in the grey areas. It shows how everyone’s got a little bit of everything in them, from good to bad, and how Aurora ultimately shows herself to be the wisest, despite Maleficent’s powers and Ingreth’s diabolical side.
When I got home from the junket, I realized I’d taken an unusually large number of photos of one of the cast members: Chiwetel. I have been a fan of his for many years, and I may be a huge fan of the Martian because of him. He’s another new addition to the Maleficent story, but he worked with Angelina years ago in Salt. There’s something about Chiwetel’s accent that has me hooked, and his expressions in the photos were so telling.
Angelina was posed a question on which she expanded quite a bit, resulting in a discussion about how art imitates life. Aurora and Maleficent are different creatures, and people have a hard time with that, basically telling them both that she can’t be her mother because of their differences. Angelina shared a little about how that hit home because of her own motherhood experiences, and how being a mother changed everything for her. Angelina’s spin on Maleficent’s damage as a young woman and how it caused her to be who she is today was both classical and poignant and something I kept in my head as I watched the movie that evening.
There was a lot of humor and one-liners in the junket (and in the movie) but everyone cheered when Angelina stated that her favorite villain was Michelle as Cat Woman. High praise!
The Maleficent 2 cast interview went quickly, and before I knew it, it was over. There’s far too much to share in just one blog post, but I’ll back on Friday with a second post about the movie; that one will focus on the movie itself, a spoiler-free review and my feelings on the story itself. (I will say that I thought it was even better than the first Maleficent.)
If you haven’t already seen the trailer, you can watch it below. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I think you will, too!