Maleficent is a movie that has captured the hearts of many, for several reasons. From the fond memories of childhood to the captivating performance of Elle Fanning, there’s a lot to love about it. However, the biggest draw has to be Angelina Jolie’s portrayal as the wicked Maleficent. She has an extraordinary ability to play evil roles like no one else, but still manages to engender empathy from the audience. Nonetheless, becoming the character was not as simple as perfecting a sinister laugh and wielding a scepter.
Transforming into Maleficent involved a collaborative effort from various experts such as costume designers, makeup artists, and even a milliner. Director Robert Stromberg revealed that Angelina Jolie had a strong desire for the character’s appearance. The team worked together to create a unique portrayal of Maleficent that deviated from traditional stereotypes but still remained recognizable to audiences. Essentially, it took a village to bring this iconic character to life.
Jolie donned the iconic cape outfit of her character, but the eerie factor was heightened by the extremely realistic horns and wings, along with a silicone nose, cheeks, and ears. The makeup effects were masterminded by Rick Baker, who surprisingly found that creating Jolie’s fake face was the easiest part of the process – at least for her. According to Baker, “It’s amazing because the prosthetics are under a quarter of an inch at their thickest parts. The horns were quite problematic because no one would want to wear large horns on their head all day.”
After careful consideration, the group ultimately settled on the idea of magnetic horns that could be easily attached or removed during filming. This decision was largely influenced by the fact that Angie’s children were present on set and required her attention in between takes. Using molds of Jolie’s head, Baker expertly crafted the horns before enlisting the help of milliner Justin Smith to create a realistic covering. Smith worked on six different looks for various seasons and events throughout the movie, utilizing python and fish skin to enhance the overall creepy and villainous appearance of the character.
Maleficent’s look was completed with the addition of some final touches. Her nails, makeup, and accessories were all given a finishing touch to achieve the desired transformation. To maintain the character’s slightly non-human appearance, her shoes were crafted from animal skin, feathers, and bones. Furthermore, a variety of animal-based materials were used to create various pieces such as collars, rings, brooches, bracelets, and shoulder pieces. These additions served to further emphasize Maleficent’s otherworldly qualities.
Jolie and her makeup crew made a conscious decision to deviate from the original Sleeping Beauty animation and not give Maleficent her trademark green skin. This was so that she could maintain an attractive appearance instead of being overly creature-like. Instead, Angelina wore hand-painted contact lenses and bold red lips while her personal makeup artist created unique black nails with a pearlescent finish. During Aurora’s christening scene, which marked Maleficent’s transformation into a true villain, Jolie’s nails were painted a deep, bloody red underneath.
The process of filming Maleficent went smoothly and was a huge success. The movie was so captivating that it may even cause viewers to have nightmares about Maleficent. After finishing filming, Angelina Jolie was relieved to return to her usual simple and effortless appearance, because when it comes to portraying evil, less is more.