Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a 2019 American dark fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, directed by Joachim Rønning, and written by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Noah Harpster. It is a sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie returning to portray the title role. Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville also return to their previous roles, with Harris Dickinson replacing Brenton Thwaites from the first film and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast as new characters.
After the release of the first film in May 2014, Jolie stated a sequel was possible. The project was officially announced the following June and Jolie signed on in April 2016. Rønning, who co-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) for Disney, was hired to direct the film in October 2017 and the rest of the cast was added or confirmed in May 2018, with filming beginning that month at Pinewood Studios in England, lasting through August.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was released in the United States on October 18, 2019. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the performances of Jolie, Fanning, Ejiofor and Pfeiffer, but criticism aimed at the “muddled plot and overly artificial visuals”.
- This is the second sequel to a Disney live-action adaptation of an animated film after.
- Harris Dickinson is taking over the role of Prince Phillip from Brenton Thwaites due to the latter’s scheduling conflicts with the web series Titans.
- Angelina Jolie and Chiwetel Ejiofor previously collaborated in the 2010 film Salt.
- This is Chiwetel Ejiofor’s second role in a Disney live-action adaptation in the same year of 2019, following his voice role as Scar in the live-action remake of The Lion King.
- This is the second sequel to a Disney live-action adaptation of an animated film to not have its music score composed by the same composer as its predecessor (James Newton Howard scored the previous film while Geoff Zanelli takes over for this film) after 102 Dalmatians.
- In addition, this is the second live-action adaptation that Geoff Zanelli has composed and scored, after Christopher Robin.
- Also, this is the second film that Joachim Rønning and Geoff Zanelli have worked together after Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
- Due to being released on the same day as Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Jojo Rabbit, this marks the last time Disney theatrically releases both films on the same day. It is also the last time both a Disney film and a Fox film in general are theatrically released on the same day, due to conflicting schedule changes by Disney (which acquired 21st Century Fox, including 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures, back on March 20, 2019) and the fact that Disney will continue to release Disney films and Fox films on separate days from November 2019 onward.
- Both Imelda Staunton and Warwick Davis previously worked in the Harry Potter franchise as Dolores Umbridge, Filius Flitwick, and Griphook.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Angelina Jolie all have roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo, Pfeiffer portrays Janet van Dyne, and later Jolie has been cast as Thena in Eternals.
In Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to the 2014 global box office hit, Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play. The years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora. Their relationship, born of heartbreak, revenge and ultimately love, has flourished. Yet the hatred between man and the fairies still exists. Aurora’s impending marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration in the kingdom of Ulstead and the neighboring Moors, as the wedding serves to unite the two worlds. When an unexpected encounter introduces a powerful new alliance, Maleficent and Aurora are pulled apart to opposing sides in a Great War, testing their loyalties and causing them to question whether they can truly be family.
LOS ANGELES – If you’re going to have an epic first engagement in life, it might as well be in the most perfect Disney nature setting with a dashing prince popping the question.
That’s where Elle Fanning, 21, found herself shooting “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” the sequel that starts with grown-up Aurora being surprised in her fairy-filled Moors kingdom with a marriage proposal from Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson).
“So that was my first ‘I do’ moment. I haven’t been engaged in real life or onscreen,” says Fanning, who admits the “Maleficent” sequel (in theaters Friday) has set the proposal bar impossibly high. “Harris is the perfect prince. And we wanted to make it as authentic and magical a fairy-tale proposal as possible. We wanted to bring the happiness and joy of it.”
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Sure, there were multiple takes of the scene. And when Aurora speaks to fairies, they were added later through CGI (“Sometimes you feel a little crazy talking to nothing, but it’s my job”). But the nature-filled set was very there and very alive for the proposal.
“The set was huge and built of real grass, real flowers and even real trees. Everything,” Fanning says. The climate had to be maintained for temperature and humidity, and stagehands had to water the plants during breaks. “So I did feel it, especially with the smells of nature. Even the river was realistic.”
Then there was the silk tulle dress, with hand-embroidered layers in baby blue, pink and lavender, “so that depending on the light, you might see a different color,” costume designer Ellen Mirojnick says. Fanning also wore a wreath with real flowers on her head and held the ensemble together with a daisy chain belt.
“The entire overdress was hand embroidered one leaf at a time, in a way only fairies can make it,” Mirojnick says. “It was important to have the most magical feel. Aurora is Queen of the Moors. These are robes of her queendom.”
The scene is crucial. When Fanning signed on for the first “Maleficent,” she was only 14, playing the goddaughter of the titular dark fairy played by Angelina Jolie. Now Aurora is grown and making decisions on her own, as established immediately with her quick yes to her prince.
“This is Aurora’s introduction,” Fanning says. “If you don’t believe the romance and love Aurora and the prince have for each other, then you don’t believe their journey.”
Maleficent, as the trailer shows, isn’t pleased her goddaughter is getting married, especially to the son of Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), who becomes a blood rival. The affairs of the kingdom go south as war breaks out between Maleficent’s fairy kingdom and humans.
It all puts a crimp in the wedding plans. But the fight for motherly affection between Ingrith and Maleficent leads to three beautiful potential wedding dresses. The one bestowed by Maleficent is made of layered chiffon, covered with flowers fashioned from laser-cut feathers.
Scenes where Aurora tries on this dress were shot outdoors amid muddy surroundings. Fanning spent her downtime in the relative safety of a stable to protect the gown.
“So I’d stand alone in this horse barn,” Fanning says. “But I was so happy in there, because I was wearing the most beautiful dress.”