Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, where she took to the stage to talk about her most recent role as Disney’s evil sorceress from its classic “Sleeping Beauty” – “Maleficent”. The dark fairytale, which covers events before, during and after the tale of “The Sleeping Beauty”, also focuses on Maleficent during her teenage years, as a fairy, who is betrayed by the king of the humans.
Speaking to the audience about the retelling of the 1959 classic, the 38-year old mother of six shared her love of Disney and fondness of the villainess character. “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite. I was terrified of her, but I was also drawn to her… I wanted to know more about her. She had this elegance and grace, yet she was wonderfully, deliciously cruel.” Jolie went on, “The strange thing was people with little kids would visit the set and I would think, ‘I’m a Disney character!’ [So] I’d go over to the children and say hi. And they would scream and run off.”
The children’s terrified reaction on set to Jolie’s extraordinary appearance was justified, taking into account her extensive, dark sweeping robes, overly accentuated cheekbones and long, twisted horns emanating from her head. So convincing was the star’s costume, that one little boy was even reported to have said, “Mommy, please, tell the mean witch to please stop talking to me.”
The only child on set not to have screamed at all was her four-year old daughter, Vivienne, who had a small role in the film as a young Princess Aurora.
Jolie appeared to be fighting fit and as beautiful as ever. She was positively glowing, warming hearts and even receiving a standing ovation from the audience after her presentation.
It would be difficult to tell just by looking at Angelina Jolie today, just how much turmoil she has been through over the last few years – in particular the earlier part of this year – physically, mentally and emotionally. In 2007, Jolie lost her mother, 56-year old French actress, Marcheline Bertrand to ovarian cancer.
In February of this year, Jolie’s doctors discovered that she too, carried the faulty BRCA1 gene, giving her an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Because she did not want her six young children to experience the same painful loss as she did, Jolie made the proactive and brave decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. She completed the three-month long series of medical procedures by the end of April. Facing much support, yet some criticism about her choice, Jolie decided to write about it in an editorial contribution to the New York Times. Of her very difficult decision for elective surgery, Jolie wrote, “… It is one I am very happy that I made… I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” She continued, “I do not feel any less of a woman… I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.” Jolie also wrote of her partner’s undying support during the process: “I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive… Brad was at the Pink Lotus Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.” Angelina and Brad’s six children, Maddox (eleven), Pax (eight), Zahara (seven), Shiloh (six) and four-year old twins, Knox and Vivienne, have all also been extremely supportive of their mother throughout her difficult time.
Angelina Jolie now seems happier than ever, thanks also to the endless love and support she has received from her immediate family. It seems strange to conceive that the family was not yet together as a unit a decade ago; Brad was still with Jennifer Aniston. But since ‘Brangelina’ came together after the making of ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’, it seemed the fans had divided into two camps: ‘Camp Jen’ (of which there were many in favor, myself included, at the time) and ‘Camp Angie’, all void of the realization that where fate is concerned, whatever will be will be, regardless. “I think Brad was ready to soar when he met Angie,” said Jean Black, a makeup artist who has worked with Pitt since 1990. She went on, “…In Angie he saw a very adventurous person who was grabbing on to life and taking it to its nth degree. It was intriguing because I felt Brad had that in him and wanted to unleash it.”
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Pitt said, “I always thought that if I wanted to do a family, I wanted to do it big… I wanted there to be chaos in the house.” Tom Junod’s article even suggested that of the dynamic pairing, ‘He [Pitt] is the product of an intact Bible Belt household; Jolie the product of a broken L.A. one – and it is as if they’ve joined forces to produce the family that he remembered and she imagined.’
Now it seems that all we are waiting on is for the real life fairytale to become complete: announcing the date to be set for the Jolie-Pitt matrimonial union… and perhaps some confirmation in the rumors that ‘Brangelina’ is looking to further extend the Jolie-Pitt brood two-fold… including a possible adoption from Syria. The pair already has three natural children and three adopted.
Angelina Jolie’s film, “Maleficent”, will open in theaters July 2, 2014.
By Brucella Newman