Anaheim, CA — Disney’s live action panel at its D23 fan expo might have been light on “Star Wars: Episode VII” details — the crowd collectively let out a disappointed “aww” — it was not short on surprise guests appearances, the biggest of which brought Angelina Jolie on stage to a standing ovation.
The Academy Award-winning actress took to the stage to discuss her newest “deliciously cruel” role as the evil sorceress from the Disney classic, “Sleepy Beauty” — Maleficent.
In “Maleficent,” Jolie is exploring the story of the dark fairy before, during, and after the events of “Sleeping Beauty,” but from her perspective. (Disney chairman Alan Horn suggested that we might even root for the dragon during the climatic battle with the prince.)
Jolie shared her love of Disney with the audience, and also her fondness for the character, who she wanted to put a new “sexy” spin on. She apparently loved playing Maleficent so much that she told the audience that she misses the horns she wore for the film.
The crowd was then treated to an exclusive look at the revisionist fairytale, which also stars Elle Fanning at Sleepy Beauty and the star’s own daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, as the younger version of the princess. (Jolie joked that her daughter was the only 4 year-old that wasn’t afraid of her on set.) The footage showed off both young and teenage Aurora and recreated the well-known christening scene from the original film.
The look of “Maleficent,” while not as over-the-top as Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland,” certainly shares more than a few visual influences with the Disney hit. Robert Stromberg, the director of “Maleficent,” worked as the production designer on “Alice” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.” The look mixes Stromberg’s aesthetic with images inspired by the original 1959 film.
“Maleficent,” when it hits theaters July 2, 2014, will go back to the very early years of the sorceress, telling the story of her teenage years as a fairy who is betrayed by the king of the humans, an event that sets into motion the events we’re all familiar with.