She can fly! She can fly! She can — well, not anymore. In Disney’s new take on its animated Sleeping Beauty, the wicked fairy Maleficent once had (and then lost)a pair of fearsome black wings. Blame an unspecified betrayal by the slumbering princess’ royal father (District 9‘s Sharlto Copley). “Children have always been told she’s pure evil. And she is evil, but it’s not all she is, and it’s not fair that her story was left there,” says Angelina Jolie, who dons black horns for the role. “For kids it will be like unwrapping a mystery, unwrapping a present, finding out what was really going on. It’s a fun discovery.”
Maleficent inhabits a shadowy wilderness where fantastical beasts rely on her as a kind of protector. “It’s the world beyond the human world. She’s a nature girl,” says first-time director Robert Stromberg, who won Oscars as a production designer for Alice in Wonderland and Avatar. “She’s respected, and perhaps lets her guard down.” So when Maleficent loses her ability to fly, her fall from grace begins. And woe to any princess (Elle Fanning) who gets between her and revenge.