Five Interesting Facts About "Maleficent"

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
May 28th, 2014

The Disney Studios feature "Maleficent" is filled with excitement, enchantment and sorcery. The movie follows the story of Maleficent, the villain from "Sleeping Beauty." The plot line in "Maleficent" reveals the reason behind Maleficent's cruel curse on Princess Aurora and shows the actions that she takes upon discovering the true purpose of the princess's existence. Produced by Joe Roth and directed by Robert Stromberg, the movie is a complicated vision that brought together several creative geniuses. With so much going into the movie, it isn't surprising that there are fascinating bits of information about the production of the film "Maleficent." Here are five facts about this whimsical film.

Unafraid Baby Princes Aurora

Angelina Jolie, who plays the villain Maleficent, scared most of the kid actors on set when she was in full costume. She admitted to interviewers at the 2013 D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center that she frightened children on set and said that even her son Pax ran away from her in fear. The only child that wasn't afraid of Jolie's menacing costume was her youngest daughter Vivienne, who plays baby Princess Aurora in the film. Other young girls were brought in to play young Aurora, but their fear impeded the ability to complete the principal photography. This led to the hiring of Vivienne Jolie-Pitt who never showed signs of fear when her mother was in costume.

A Star-plucked Songstress

The classic song, "Once Upon a Dream" is an iconic symbol of the curse set upon Princess Aurora. Angelina Jolie chose sultry songstress Lana Del Rey to do a cover of the song that would express the mood of the film's plot. The original song, which was known for its joyous tone, is transformed into a dark, moody rendition that sets the mood for the entire film. The single was released on January 26, 2014, and Walt Disney Pictures released a new trailer with the song during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Lana Del Rey is best known for her haunting vocals and unique ability to convey high emotions through the use of song. Del Rey wrote and performed the main song, "Young and Beautiful" for "The Great Gatsby."

A High Investment in a First Time Director

Robert Stromberg debuts his directorial artistry in "Maleficent." Stromberg was given the largest budget ever for a Disney movie directed by a first time director. The budget for "Maleficent" was $180 million. Prior to directing "Maleficent," Stromberg worked in the production team as a visual effects supervisor and as a production designer. He has earned two Academy Awards for the productions of "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and "Avatar." Stromberg has worked as part of a production team on over 100 films.

It's a World of Fairies

Fairies are at the core of the film "Maleficent." Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville play the three fairies that protect Princess Aurora. The fairies are Merryweather, Flora and Fauna in the 1959 version of "Sleeping Beauty." In "Maleficent" the three fairies are referred to as The Flower Pixies and are named Thistlewit, Flittle and Knotgrass. To make the flying appear realistic, the actors worked with acrobats from the famous Cirque du Soliel for three weeks to complete the scenes.

Reshoots Abound

John Lee Hancock was brought onto the set to consult with Robert Stromberg during the re-shoots of the opening scenes of "Maleficent." He helped rewrite the opening scenes and guide the first time director in shooting an opening that would set the mood of the film. There was a lot of debate over the opening scenes of the Disney film, but producer Joe Roth ultimately decided that the opening wasn't powerful enough to handle the scenes that followed it. Hancock wrote the films, "The Blindside" and "Snow White and the Huntsman." Jolie was not a part of the reshoots because she was on business in Australia. It took eight days to re-shoot the opening for "Maleficent."

The dark fantasy "Maleficent" takes the traditional fairytale story of "Sleeping Beauty" and turns it upside down to reveal the truth behind Disney's most evil villain. With the hundreds of techniques that went into the filming of this Disney live-action movie, it isn't surprising that there are so many interesting facts about the making of the film. Actors Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning and Sharlto Copley bring life to the romanticized characters and show what truly happens in a world of fairy tales. Hitting theaters on May 30, 2014, "Maleficent" is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.