Meeting Angelina Jolie to Talk About 'Maleficent' and Motherhood
You could sense the quiet excitement in the room as we waited for the iconic Angelina Jolie to arrive. It was like every one of the 25 bloggers who were in attendance - along with the Disney PR reps we work closely with - were so nervous we didn't know what to do with ourselves. You could hear a pin drop, but if we had opened our mouths the squeals of delight might shoot out an bounce around the walls like a bucket or rubber balls kicked over.
Image via Louise Manning Bishop/MomStart
My hands were shaking and palms sweaty as I furiously typed out tweet after tweet. "Waiting for Angelina to arrive!" "OMG I can't believe Angelina Jolie wants to talk to us", all hashtagged #MaleficentEvent. It was like I was a part of movie history - never before had Hollywood royalty like Angelina wanted to chat with regular women in this fashion. We had a lot to ask and she had a lot to say.
Angelina came in wearing a black Stella McCartney sheath with delicate lace sleeves and insets along the neckline. She also wore her now-famous Maleficent inspired Christian Louboutin wedge heels, the very same ones she wore to the Paris photo call just two weeks prior. She was much smaller than I imagined, maybe because she has such a big personality and reputation of a brilliant actress, mother, and humanitarian. I didn't know you could fit all of that into a 5'6" frame.
"Oh, this is so fun. I was so curious what this group of 'Mommy Bloggers' was. This is fantastic!" she said as she scanned the room and smiled, almost making a point to look at every single one of our faces in an acknowledgement of motherhood solidarity. She sat down, cracked open a bottle of Fiji water and took a sip. As she talked I noticed little nervous mannerisms, like looking down as she spoke and passing the blue water bottle cap through her fingers (painted in Nocturnelle from the Maleficent Collection by MAC). Was she as nervous as we were?
Image © Richard Goldschmidt/London News Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com
What brought you to this moment with a family Disney movie?
AJ: I read this script and I was just so moved by it. I thought of myself as a little girl, and I thought of all the kids I know, and I just think of that thing of feeling different, feeling outside, and also as a woman, feeling abused and if you’ve ever been abused and then you put this wall up. You become darker and you’re not able to be this soft person that you were born to be.
How much of the Maleficent story did you know before you read the script?
AJ: I didn’t really know anything, I was fascinated by her. I didn’t really identify with the princesses [as a little girl]. Maleficent was like seeing this elegant, powerful woman who seemed to be having a great time, so I was a bit fascinated by her. When there was a rumor that the movie was going to be made, I got a call from my brother. And he was like, 'Ang, you’ve got to, you’ve got to make a call to Disney, you got to try to get in on this!'. So I was very happy when I got the call. So just the idea of a Disney movie, having children and just being a big kid myself, and wanting to do a little bit of that was fun. I joked with Linda [Woolverton, writer] - I said, 'how could you possibly make a story where people have any empathy for somebody that curses a baby?' And I think she did an extraordinary job.
How did you find your voice that you use for this film?
AJ: I my kids helped me find it. I always tell stories, I’m sure we all have a few voices. I was giving them baths and I was doing this thing where a few nights in a row I would tell them stories in the bath. And I was trying out voices and a few they’d say, 'please stop' (laughs). And then sometimes they’d listen and they’d kind of be more engaged. And I kept trying and trying and trying. And then I did that [Maleficent] voice and they couldn’t stop laughing. And so I kept doing it more and more. They still make me do it. I had to do it the other night for bedtime. I would kind of run it by them, and if it made them happy, or made them smile, or they were interested in it then it was right.