Disney is revisiting one of its greatest fairytales, telling the backstory of a famed evil queen.
After years of development, the company gave a sneak preview of Maleficent to the audience at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, complete with a visit from Angelina Jolie, who plays a title character best known for wearing horns and putting a curse on Princess Aurora, turning her into Sleeping Beauty.
The new movie, coming out in winter 2014, will explain just how Maleficent went bad. Origin story! Here’s the synopsis: “A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.”
So yeah, there are two sides to every story!
“Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite. I was terrified of her but I was so drawn to her and I wanted to know more about her, I wanted to know who she was and what she was like,” Jolie told the audience, professing her love — like every other celebrity to take the stage — for all things Disney. “She had this elegance and grace and yet she was so cruel, so wonderfully and deliciously cruel. When they announced this movie, I got a call from my brother who said ‘You’ve got to try to get in on this.’ I got very lucky because I got the phone call.”
The teenage version of Aurora is played by Elle Fanning. The version of the princess that Disney fans got to see, in the first-ever clip of the movie, was an infant being feted by royal subjects and three loyal fairies. The baby was receiving some well wishes from the guardian fairies when, all of a sudden, the lights went out and Jolie burst into the king’s court, sneering and putting a major bummer of a curse on Aurora.
To be specific, she said, “The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty… before the sun sets on the eve of her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep, woken only by true love’s kiss.”
Jolie’s daughter Vivienne plays Princess Aurora in her early, non-baby years, which was especially clutch because, as Jolie told it, all the other kids were terrified of her in costume.