MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL had a couple of goals it wanted to accomplish in the sequel. But director Joachim Rønning reveals his main mission for the film.
The sequel extends the story that began with Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in the 2014 Disney fantasy film. That movie flipped the script on the SLEEPING BEAUTY narration, focusing instead on the wicked fairy Maleficent (played by Jolie).
When Rønning came on board, he was used to playing in established franchises, having helmed the most recent PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie for Walt Disney Studios. But Rønning said that early on, he established a singular goal for MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL.
“I truly credit most of the success of the first film on what [Jolie and Fanning] did with their characters,” the director told AMC. “And also how Angelina Jolie brought Maleficent to the screen in live action, also from Maleficent’s point of view, which was a surprise for the audience. Every moment, since I stepped on to do this film, my main mission was how can we surprise the audience again and find the original take on this fairytale? Next to the character of Maleficent, portrayed so amazingly by Angelina Jolie, I think that the other bullet in the barrel that this franchise has is the emotional core between Maleficent and Aurora. Basically between mother and daughter. And for me, as a filmmaker, that's mainly what I always look for. The emotional core of the story.”
This can be said of almost all effects-driven blockbusters: While they can dazzle with visuals (and the original MALEFICENT received Oscar® nominations for its eye-popping costumes), if you don’t invest in the emotional throughline of the narrative, it’s all for naught. And since MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL has both, it's made to be seen on the big screen, especially in the premium large format of IMAX at AMC.
Having Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning return to the mother-daughter dynamic that worked so well in the first movie gives MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL a real boost. But then, Joachim Rønning upped the ante by introducing Michelle Pfeiffer as a rival to Jolie and a bidder for Aurora’s attention.
“She was at the top of my list,” Rønning told AMC. “There are very few actresses who can hold their own against Maleficent, against Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. The days when I had Pfeiffer and Jolie in front of my camera, I was just sitting behind the monitor and just listening in. It sounds like a cliché when you say that as a filmmaker you are capturing magical moments. But that's what it felt like, you know?”
So far, those magical moments look like this.
We will finally be able to see the anticipated sequel, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, when it opens in theatres on October 18. Get your tickets now for a standard format screening or in IMAX at AMC.