Last on his schedule of interviews, I expected an exhausted and perhaps a bit cranky actor. But, Mr. Riley entered the room in a pressed and tailored blue suit looking as if he had just started his day and immediately joking with us that we must wear our Maleficent horns. The dichotomy started there and continued. While he dished on Angelina Jolie, his prep for the film and why he believes tweens will enjoy it, he also offered thoughtful and introspective answers.
Wearing black horns and all, we jumped into the questions. Here’s what Maleficent co-star Sam Riley had to say:
On how he prepared to play the raven, Diaval:
“In the Indy films, I’ve played real people and it’s a little more straightforward with what you have to do. In the original movie, the raven doesn’t do much. So they arranged for me to spend time with ravens. Ravens are actually very big with a large wingspan. So, when they took the sheet off the cage, I was intimidated. It was really amazing. I worked with a movement coach and we looked to see if there were any elements of his movement that we could work into my human incarnation. Even when I am a man in the film, I was to be the raven first and foremost.”
On how Angelina Jolie helped shape his character:
“When we had some rehearsals we talked with Angelina about the character being servile and scared of her. But as we discussed it, we thought it would be fun to explore more of that relationship. They spend 16 years together, which is more than any relationship – especially those in Hollywood. We thought it would be fun to develop a bickering between them. We started rehearsing it and laughing but decided to save it for the camera.”
On first meeting Angelina Jolie:
“They arranged a meeting for us so I wouldn’t be terrified. She has a very disarming charm and she sort of has both real star presence and charisma. She can make you feel like the center of attention or extremely important.”
On Angelina Jolie’s input on the Maleficent costume:
“I think she brought an edge to the character with the ideas she had for the costumes like leather. She pushed the boundaries but in a good way. The first time I saw her in costume was intense. You know it’s fake but is still intense.”
On whether or not tweens will enjoy Maleficent:
“What I love about Maleficent is that it still is a classic film that is just a bit scary. Kids like to be thrilled. They don’t want to be terrified and the movie does just that.”
Click here to hear Angelina explain a little more about the dichotomy of the film. Maleficent is rated PG and opens in theaters on May 30th We’ll be watching!