Audiences first discovered Disney’s most notorious villain with the release of “Maleficent” in 2014, where we unearthed events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse a newborn baby princess to sleep forever. The film put a fresh spin on the traditional fairy tale with a villain as the story’s protagonist.
Today, October 18th, Maleficent’s story continues in Nairobi (Spoiler alert)
The years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora. Their relationship, born of heartbreak, revenge and ultimately love, has flourished. While the dark fairy’s thirst for vengeance was the reason behind the original curse placed on the infant princess, it was also her love that broke it. She has raised Aurora as her own and bestowed her goddaughter with the title Queen of the Moors. Aurora’s love for her godmother, in return, is unconditional.
Aurora is still in love with Prince Philip, played by Harris Dickinson (“Trust,” “The Darkest Minds”), from the neighboring kingdom of Ulstead, and has agreed to marry him. This is cause for much celebration, as the wedding serves to unite the human and fairy worlds. While Philip’s parents are thrilled with news of their son’s engagement, Maleficent is hesitant to embrace the union, knowing all too well the pain that love can bring.
About the Production
Norwegian director Joachim Rønning (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Kon-Tiki”) put together an accomplished creative team to help bring his vision to life, which includes: director of photography Henry Braham, BSC; production designer Patrick Tatopoulos; costume designer Ellen Mirojnick; composer Geoff Zanelli; film editors Laura Jennings and Craig Wood, ACE; visual effects supervisor Gary Brozenich; makeup designer Paul Gooch; special makeup effects designer David White; and stunt coordinators Simon Crane and Jo McLaren.
The Cool Costumes
Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (“The Greatest Showman,” “Behind the Candelabra”) created distinct looks for each of the three beautiful, powerful and independent women at the heart of the story. Her department had some of the most talented crafts people working today, including cutters, agers, dyers, textiles artists, prop designers, jewelry creators and buyers. In addition to the numerous outfits created for Maleficent, Aurora and Queen Ingrith, her department was also responsible for dressing close to 600 extras as villagers.
Hair & Makeup
Hair and makeup designer Paul Gooch (“Dumbo,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass”) oversaw a department of 44 artists on “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” In addition to doing hair and makeup for the principal and supporting cast, he and his team were tasked with getting hundreds of extras camera-ready as well.
Angelina Jolie’s makeup was conceptualized by her personal makeup artist, Toni G., who also worked with the actress on the first film. The glamorously wicked look includes chiseled cheekbones, pale skin, perfectly arched eyebrows and one prominent feature from the animated film—the character’s glam red lips—and required two to three hours in the make-up chair for Jolie every day.
Toni G. was going for a classic 1940s Marlene Dietrich movie-star look and tried a number of different reds before deciding on M·A·C Matte Lipstick Russian Red, which has an intense color and semi-matte velvety finish and was supplemented with matching lip gloss and liner.
Maleficent’s eye palette included eye liner blended with a deep eye shadow and number seven lashes with a demi across half the eye. These were in addition to the cheek prosthetics, which were applied by Arjen Tuiten, a protégé of Rick Baker, the original mastermind of Maleficent’s signature look.
The look of the dark fey, the winged creatures with horns like Maleficent, is more primitive, as they have adapted and evolved in different ways based on geographical biomes (jungle, tundra, forest and desert). They build nests, as they are part bird, part human, but do not build tools or weapons, and they find everything they need in nature, which was cause for a unique approach in terms of props, set dressing and costumes.
Visual / Special Effects
Visual effects supervisor Greg Brozenich (“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Clash of the Titans”) had his hands full on “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” due to the massive scope of the story and the quantity of magical creatures which were entirely computer generated. The film includes a total of 2,168 visual effect shots, which were created by MPC out of London.
According to Brozenich, the majority of the film’s effects were for the enormous battle sequences taking place in and around Castle Ulstead, many which involved a secret weapon created under the supervision of Queen Ingrith. Her creation, a mix of fairy dust and iron which turns into a red powder-like substance that will destroy the creatures of the Moors, is brilliantly realized on screen as explosions of red smoke in the sky.
When visualizing the film, director Joachim Rønning pictured the red dust bombs exploding over Berlin during World War II. “Two years ago, those were the images in my head,” he says. “That’s what I was trying to create.”
Stunt coordinator Jo McLaren (“Annihilation,” “Spectre”) was equally as busy. The script called for an enormous amount of flying work that involved the principal cast as well as the 40-some actors portraying dark fey. While the flying sequences used methodology similar to those employed on the first film in terms of how they fly, the intensity and difficulty of the stunt work on this film increased substantially.
Maleficent’s wings—which had three different looks—as well as for the dark fey, were created with CG effects in post-production, but the simulated flying was completed during principal photography. Working closely with stunt coordinator Simon Crane (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “World War Z”), McLaren and team were determined to make all the flying sequences look as effortless and real as possible, while keeping the actors safe.
“We have a thing called a tuning fork that is attached to the actor’s hips and is controlled by operators off set,” says McLaren. “It gives the actors the ability to hover and dive and makes it look very fluid and natural. We also have tuning forks on dollies with wheels and on slack lines that allow us to keep the actors low to the ground for safety reasons and help them gain confidence for their flying sequences set against blue screens.”
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