This interview contains spoilers. I was able to participate in the Elle Fanning Maleficent Interview as a part of an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the Maleficent press junket.
I shared with you last week what it was like to meet Angelina Jolie and her take on playing a Disney villain. As iconic as Maleficent is, Sleeping Beauty isn’t exactly a nobody – she’s one of the most classic Disney princesses and I think we all knew that it would take a pretty special actress to fill her sweet little shoes! We sat down with Elle Fanning and asked her a few questions about her role of Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty, in the new live action Maleficent film.
What’s it like taking on the role of a Disney princess?
It was my dream. When anyone asks what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was little, I would say, “A Disney princess,” ’cause that’s the ultimate goal in life, I think for any young girl. And especially Sleeping Beauty. She was always my favorite one ’cause I felt like I looked – you know, when you’re little you see which ones you look like the most and she was the one that I looked like the most. So I would go to Disney store and I would buy her clothes and her shoes, so to get to play this is really the dream.
Did you feel any pressure living up to Sleepy Beauty’s standards?
Yeah, I mean, obviously I watched the animated movie so many times and it’s like you wanna do it justice because I feel like that Sleeping Beauty – they’ve already done it so perfectly, you know. I have to live up to that. So I did watch the animated film right before I started filming just because I thought she has a certain physicality ’cause she’s drawn a certain way. And she holds her hands, you know, with these little gestures and her posture and her feet.
So I tried to bring that charm to the role. But also there is, in ours, there is a little more to her ’cause she’s not just a delicate princess, you know. She has some strength and she actually shows real emotion. She gets sad and feels betrayal and a lot of secrets are hidden from her. So it was nice in ours that we could make her more human than just, you know, just the cartoon.
Having seen Maleficent last week, I can tell you – Elle does a bang up job of capturing the classic whimsy of Sleeping Beauty. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone portray the spirit of a Disney princess in a live action film like this before. She was sweet and childish, with an air of innocence and beauty…Elle WAS a Disney princess, and everything that makes them so magical. Those gestures she talks about? She really carried those through in her character, and behaved exactly the way I would imagine Aurora behaving, the way she walked, smiled, gazed at Maleficent.
It was so exciting to see one of my favorite Disney princesses become a real person in front of my eyes!
In Maleficent, Aurora is much like the animated character, raised in the woods by fairies and all. BUT there is a completely different aspect to the live action film, which I won’t talk about because it would be a big spoiler! But we see much more of Aurora’s personality and we watch her grow up, which raises quite a few questions about her and the way she thinks. Unlike the animated film, Maleficent really creates a very fleshed out character and we asked Elle about some of those personality traits as well, namely, the innocence of her character.
She is that way ’cause she’s been trapped, she’s in this little cottage, you know. She doesn’t know the outside world – raised by fairies. Definitely very naive in that way. Everything she’s learned she’s kind of had to learn on her own and I guess for me, I’m still as happy and as curious as she is, so I like to soak up a lot of information, so we’re very similar in that way. But I guess, it is exaggerated as a fairy tale. So her naïveness is like to the point of so much. Whereas I don’t think any, you know, child can be that sheltered like she was, in our time. So I guess I’m different in that way from her.
I think you made her very believable and you kept us very attached to her.
I tried to do that ’cause I know, it could get boring if it’s oh, that girl is just the one who’s happy and doesn’t know anything, you know? But she, I thought that to bring a sense to her that she’s always, you know, she’s kind of desperate to learn and she’s trying to figure things out, that’d be nice. And to show that she hasn’t been taught to be scared yet. She doesn’t know to be scared of things that look different.
So when she does see Maleficent, she’s not scared of her, which is very strange for Maleficent ’cause she’s, like, normally everyone’s so terrified of me, but this little girl’s not. Which, I think that’s what makes them have this bond that they do.
Once you see the movie, you will understand that the entire film was just spellbinding. On top of the beautiful scenery and special effects, the story was heartwarming and the dialogue between the characters really drew you in. Oddly enough, we were able to see the movie before any of the cast did, so we had a lot of questions about the film from their perspective, seeing as how we had seen the final product already!
What was your favorite scene to shoot?
To shoot? Mine was, when I pricked my finger on the spindle ’cause it’s such an iconic – I mean, when I think about the original, that’s the scene I think of. And so, especially to film that scene, it was the very last day of filming that we did. So I was like, oh gosh, and kind of everything was building its way up to that monumental moment and I wanted to do it right, you know, everything has to be a certain way. ‘Cause that scene impacted me a lot when I was little.
It scared me more than Maleficent did because of the way the lights were and it looked like Aurora was morphing into Maleficent, with that green and purple light. So I was like, “We have to have those lights.”
Now that you’ve read all about my Elle Fanning Maleficent interview, you’re probably extra excited about seeing the movie right? Don’t miss any of the Maleficent excitement!
Maleficent opens in theaters nationwide on May 30th – get your tickets now!