Brad Pitt deals with prankster; ‘Maleficent’ cast talks villains

‘Maleficent’ red carpet
Actors Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning and Sam Riley attend the premiere of “Maleficent” at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

What authorities said was an attack by Vitalii Sediuk on Brad Pitt on the red carpet of the “Maleficent” premiere in Hollywood obscured the larger point of Wednesday’s proceedings: the premiere itself.

Hundreds of fans waited in 80-degree weather to catch a glimpse of Pitt and the film’s star, Angelina Jolie, as they walked the carpet. But even as the premiere has grabbed headlines for the Sediuk incident -- in which police said the notorious celebrity prankster -- accosted Pitt, other stars gave interviews about the villainous themes of the film.

Directed by Robert Stromberg, the movie is an alternative take on the “Sleeping Beauty” myth, featuring Maleficent (Jolie) as the villain from “Sleeping Beauty” who puts a curse on Princess Aurora, the daughter of King Stefan, after Maleficent and the king have a falling out.

Elle Fanning, who plays Aurora, told reporters that growing up she feared the old witch in “Snow White.”


“She was so ugly and the wart -- it was just very scary to me,” she said, then noted of Jolie’s performance, “[Good villains] I think are villains that don’t yell too much, that are a little more quiet and have more mystery to them,” she said. “I like that because it’s more intriguing.”

Sharlto Copley, who stars as Stefan, said he hooked “onto the idea of male ambition” and took that to an “extreme form” when tackling his role.

“You have to play it from the point of view that nobody does anything thinking that they are being a villain or thinking that they are doing anything bad,” Copley said.

When writing “Maleficent,” screenwriter Linda Woolverton said it was challenging penning a protagonist who is also a villain.


“You have to care about the protagonist, otherwise you’re not going to be in the story or empathize in any way,” said the writer, who also penned Disney classics “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.” “I want to know why they are doing this; I want to almost feel sorry for them because I want to know exactly what turned them to be this to the world, to hate so much,” she said. 

Sam Riley, who plays Maleficent confidant Diaval, had a different take on the subject. When asked what made for a good villain, he simply said: “Cheekbones.”

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