The classic story of Sleeping Beauty is about to get a bold makeover with the help of mega-actress Angelina Jolie.
Photo credits: geektyrant.com
Maleficent, scheduled to begin filming in June, will focus on telling the story from the villain’s perspective to contrast the traditional protagonist tale audiences are used to. Jolie insists the film is not anti-princess—it simply gives the story a new twist that elaborates on the background of the evil sorceress who gives the movie its namesake.
“[Maleficent] is actually a great person. But she’s not perfect. She’s far from perfect,” Jolie said, “You see a woman capable of being many things; just because she protects herself and is aggressive—it doesn’t mean she can’t have other [warmer] qualities. You have to figure out the puzzle of what she is.”
For those of you who need a refresher on the storyline of Sleeping Beauty, this synopsis is a thorough one (warning: it contains spoilers). The original film portrays Maleficent in an antagonistic light and does not showcase a single redeeming quality of her personality, so the new film will be more than artistic expansion—it will be an interesting, brand new story. Jolie said not completely disregarding the original storyline is a challenge for the cast and crew.
“What our challenge will be — and the script writer [Linda Woolverton] has already cracked it — is not to simplify it, not to just reverse the story, but tell a bigger story that doesn’t point the finger [at Princess Aurora] either. It doesn’t flip it,” she said.
Further, and possibly most important, the creators of Maleficent do not intend to hide the negative points of the villainess’s personality as they spin the new tale to audiences. Filmmakers will include these less-than-desirable traits alongside her strong, positive attributes to give a more human feel to the animated character.
“It sounds really crazy to say that there will be something that’s good for young girls in this, because it sounds like you’re saying they should be a villain. [Maleficent] is actually a great person, but she’s not perfect. She’s far from perfect… In general, it’s a very good message to say, ‘let’s look at something from the other side,’” Jolie said.
This film is going above and beyond providing a few hours’ entertainment for children and adults alike. It will teach an important lesson: We don’t have to be “good” 100 percent of the time to be good people. We all make mistakes and have faults. It is a bold and brave move for Disney to take on this task when audiences could misinterpret the message and turn their back on the film or the corporation.
Knowing people have more than one side to their persona is a crucial message— one that society as a whole needs to address and discuss. We all have light and dark sides that balance one another out and we are all different shades of grey. It is refreshing to see the focus shift to the good qualities a villain may possess, rather than focusing on the weaknesses of a hero to illustrate the same we’re-all-human-point. Maleficent is ruthless and does not always take the kindest actions toward those she dislikes, but she still has redeeming qualities. She has reasons in her background that make her act the way she does. This phenomenon is found in real-life humans and it is important to recognize that in order to work with and develop relationships with the people around us.
The fact that Disney stepped up to spread this message to the world is refreshing, particularly after being subjected to their relentless portrayals of helpless, damsels-in-distress. It’s a much-needed message change and it will only advance the predicted box office success of the film..
Jolie said she is excited to begin work on the film and has already started work with the costume department to perfect her look for the movie. One iconic characteristic of Maleficent is promised to remain in the live-action adaptation, regardless of underlying message:
“We’re experimenting with different things,” Jolie says. “But the horns are the horns – you can’t deny them. You have to have horns.”