Princess Aurora: Don’t be afraid!
Maleficent: I am not afraid.
Princess Aurora: Then come out.
Maleficent: Then you’ll be afraid.
Maleficent will be coming out of hiding soon when she’s released on Blu-ray and Digital HD Nov. 4th. To celebrate, we wanted to share a bonus clip titled, “Aurora: Becoming a Beauty.” In this clip, Elle Fanning talks about playing the beautiful Princess Aurora and what the character means to her. We also wanted to share with you a fantastic Q&A with Elle Fanning, as well as some film stills of Elle as Princess Aurora.
How does it feel to play a princess, Elle?
Getting to play an actual princess is a dream come true. When I was little, people would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When I was five years old, I’d say, “I want to be a Disney princess.” To be able to say that this has actually happened to me is so unreal.
It sounds like you’re perfect for the role of Aurora in Maleficent…
It’s been everything that I’ve ever dreamed of. From the moment I put on her first outfit, getting the hair done and everything; it’s been really special to get to play such an iconic character.
How would you describe Princess Aurora?
Aurora is very innocent. She’s been living in a cottage for years, so she doesn’t really know the outside world. She also doesn’t know to be scared of things. She’s very open and loving to everything, so when she meets Maleficent, she’s not scared of her at all.
Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent in the movie. Was it terrifying to work with such an iconic actress?
No, she’s definitely not terrifying in real life. You know what? I don’t think that anyone else could have played Maleficent. There was no one better for the role. Angelina is perfect.
What was it like to meet Angelina Jolie?
I remember meeting her for the first time. We were doing rehearsals at Pinewood Studios, but I didn’t know that I was going to specifically meet her that day. The word went around that she had arrived. People were saying, “Oh, she’s here. She’s here!” Then I turned the corner and she was standing there.
Was she dressed as Maleficent with her horns and scary eyes?
There were no horns or anything. She was wearing normal clothes. Right away, she gave me a giant hug and she said, “Oh, we’re going to have so much fun working together.” I remember it vividly. It was amazing, not terrifying.
What went through your mind when you saw Angelina dressed as Maleficent for the very first time?
When I saw her in costume for the first time, I wasn’t scared. I was more excited. She was wearing contact lenses and she definitely didn’t look like herself, that’s for sure.
How would you describe the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora in the movie?
Maleficent and Aurora have a much more complex relationship in this movie compared to the animated Sleeping Beauty. After Maleficent curses Aurora in that christening scene, she follows Aurora around while she’s growing up. You get to see Aurora in different stages in her life in the movie. You get to see the young toddler, then you get to see her at eight years old. Then you finally see me as Aurora as a teenager, but Maleficent is there hiding away in every step of those stages.
Are you a fan of princesses and the animated Disney classic, Sleeping Beauty?
When I was little, I watched the original Sleeping Beauty over and over again. Sleeping Beauty was always my favorite princess. I felt like I related to her the most because she looked like me the most. I’ve always looked up to her. She has that blonde hair and her pink dress; I would think, ‘She’s my princess.’
How did you prepare for the role of a princess?
Before we started shooting, I watched Sleeping Beauty again. Each princess has her own characteristics, so I wanted to see if I could pick up any little mannerisms that she does while she’s in the forest. Princesses hold their hands a certain way and their posture is different. I wanted to incorporate these things into my acting for all of the Sleeping Beauty fans out there. I wanted to have all those elements, but I also wanted to make her a real person, too. She’s not just an animated character. She’s a human being.
Where did you find your English accent for this movie?
I had an amazing dialect coach that was with me on the set of the movie. We tried to figure it out together. I had just shot a film where I had to have a 60’s East London accent, which was very different, so we tried to find exactly the right princess voice. It couldn’t be too soft and gooshy. She had to have some oomph.
What do you like about Aurora?
I envy her ability to love everything. I envy her ability to be so curious about things. She’s also okay with asking questions. With me, I wonder a lot – but I don’t think I ask enough questions. With her, she’s very open and self-confident. She definitely badgers Maleficent with questions, which I think I’d be intimidated to ask if I was in her place.
What else do you like about Aurora?
When you watch the original movie, she’s always happy and loving, but it was nice to give her a little more depth in our movie. She has all the qualities of a princess – she’s delicate and all that – but we wanted to add a little bit more to her, so we made her show more emotions. She’s sad in the movie and she feels betrayal, too. It was fun to discover that side to the character – but also keep all the stuff that I love so much.
Which of the scenes in the movie was the toughest to shoot?
For me, it was that iconic scene where Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle. That scene was huge for me. When you watch the original version, that scene always scared me the most. You see Aurora, but she isn’t girly any more; she’s in a trance and Maleficent’s colors overthrow her.
Why was that scene so tough to shoot?
When we were shooting that scene, I wanted to get it just right because it had to be. We wanted to make sure that it was really true to the original for that one particular scene.
Which of Aurora’s outfits is your favorite?
All of my costumes are dresses. In the beginning, I wear a lot of peasant dresses because Aurora doesn’t know she’s a princess. That’s a deep secret that’s hidden from her, so she wears pastel peasant clothes. But at the end of the movie, she gets to wear a fancy princess dress with a crown – and that’s my favorite outfit.
What was it like to wear the fancy princess dress?
There was so much detailing in the dress. Every morning, they would lace me up because there were no zippers or anything like that. Everything was meticulous about it.
What can you tell us about the pixies that look after Princess Aurora in the movie?
Thistlewit, Flittle and Knotgrass are pixies, but they are Aurora’s aunts as well. When you first get to see them, they are tiny – but they change to the human form when they have to take care of baby Aurora. They grow big and they have to pretend to be peasant women, which I don’t think they enjoy very much. They prefer their wings and their funny costumes. They are so funny and all three of them are amazing in the movie. They bring really a lot of humor to the story.
What can you tell us about the character of Diaval in Maleficent?
Diaval is Maleficent’s pet bird, although we also get to see him as a man in the movie because Maleficent turns him into a human. Well, she turns him into many things in the movie. He takes many different forms – but when Aurora is little, she plays with the bird a lot. ‘Pretty Bird’ is what Aurora calls him.
What do you hope people take away from the movie?
There’s something for everyone in Maleficent. There’s something for boys and girls, as well as adults. The movie has so many different emotions wrapped up into it. When you finish watching, you will be both laughing and crying.
If you could sum up your experience on the movie in one word, what word would you choose?
Ooh, I want to pick a good word! I’d say, ‘whimsical’. Working on the movie was like a dream. You get to work with Angelina Jolie. You get to play a princess. And then you’re also acting in this fairy tale all the time. In a way, you just feel like you really are living in the cartoon, so it’s very whimsical. It was great.