The Philippine Star

‘mother-daugh­ter’ bond at the heart of Malef­i­cent se­quel

Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil di­rec­tor Joachim Røn­ning feels lucky to helm the se­quel to the 2014 box-of­fice block­buster that turned Dis­ney’s most no­to­ri­ous vil­lain into a pro­tag­o­nist and gave a fresh spin to a well-loved fairy­tale.

- by nAThAlie TomADA Entertainment · Filmmaking · Movies · Maleficent · The Walt Disney Company · Maleficent II · Angelina Jolie · Elle Fanning · Queen · Elizabeth II · Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh · Harris Dickinson · William Shakespeare · Michelle Pfeiffer · 2006 Pinewood Studios fire · London · JoJo · Norway · Thor · Pirates of the Caribbean films · Patrick Tatopoulos · Geoff Zanelli · David Blaine · Sandefjord · Thor Heyerdahl · Simon Crane

Dis­ney’s Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil di­rec­tor Joachim Røn­ning feels for­tu­nate to helm the se­quel to the 2014 box-of­fice block­buster that gave a fresh spin to a well-loved fairy­tale.

The first film turned Dis­ney’s most no­to­ri­ous vil­lain into a pro­tag­o­nist and went on to gross more than $750M world­wide.

In a phone in­ter­view with STAR, the Nor­we­gian film­maker said that be­fore he took on the pro­ject, he was al­ready a fan of the Dis­ney film, hav­ing been par­tic­u­larly drawn to its cen­tral char­ac­ter, Malef­i­cent, wickedly and gor­geously played by Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ter An­gelina Jolie.

He gave props to Dis­ney for mak­ing the bold move to come up with such a com­pelling anti-hero­ine through the movie.

Røn­ning said that the film’s draw­ing power also lies in mother-and-daugh­ter-like bond of Jolie’s Malef­i­cent and Elle Fan­ning’s Aurora char­ac­ters. It pro­vided the emo­tional core of the movie, and he be­lieves it is this emo­tional jour­ney of the main char­ac­ters that made it res­onate with au­di­ences around the world.

As the story goes, the “re­la­tion­ship” of Malef­i­cent and Aurora was born of “heart­break and re­venge” but even­tu­ally was trans­formed into love. The horned fairy, who cast a dark spell on the in­fant princess, would also be the one to break it. She would treat Aurora as her own daugh­ter, even grant­ing her the ti­tle, Queen of the Moors. Aurora would re­cip­ro­cate this love, un­con­di­tion­ally.

Røn­ning said that with any pro­ject, he al­ways looks for the heart of the story.

Be­ing a par­ent him­self to two girls, he can eas­ily re­late to the dy­nam­ics be­tween Malef­i­cent and Aurora. “The (theme on the) im­por­tance of fam­ily was also what made me do this film,” he said. In Malef­i­cent: Mistress of

Evil, Aurora is still in love with Prince Philip (played by Har­ris Dick­in­son) from the neigh­bor­ing king­dom of Ul­stead and agrees to wed him. The wed­ding is seen to unite the hu­man and fairy worlds. But Malef­i­cent has reser­va­tions about the im­pend­ing union based on her own painful ex­pe­ri­ence with love.

The prince’s fa­ther King John (por­trayed by Shake­spearean ac­tor Robert Lind­say) hap­pens to be mar­ried to Queen Ingrith, a schem­ing woman and “wor­thy ad­ver­sary” to Malef­i­cent. So, who’s the real “Mistress of Evil” now? Teaser trail­ers raise this ques­tion.

When it came to cast­ing the role of Queen Ingrith, pro­duc­ers wanted some­one who could “hold her own” op­po­site the for­mi­da­ble Jolie and they found it in the Golden Globe­win­ning and three-time Os­car nom­i­nee Michelle Pfeif­fer.

“There are very strong fe­male char­ac­ters in this movie,” Røn­ning noted.

He said he feels so lucky to be di­rect­ing these ac­tresses, which are re­garded as some of the finest in the world. It was also a de­light for him watch­ing his stars, in char­ac­ter, bat­tling it out on the set. Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil also prom­ises stun­ning vi­su­als, lav­ish pro­duc­tion and set de­sign, and bat­tle-ready cos­tumes, among oth­ers, to show­case a “vis­ually lush” and “epic” uni­verse fit for its char­ac­ters. The sets had to oc­cupy mul­ti­ple sound-stages be­cause of their “enor­mous” sizes. Prin­ci­pal pho­tog­ra­phy was done at the fa­mous Pinewood Stu­dios out­side Lon­don from May to Au­gust 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­duc­tion notes, Røn­ning formed an ac­com­plished cre­ative team made up of di­rec­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy Henry Bra­ham, BSC; pro­duc­tion de­signer Pa­trick Tatopou­los; cos­tume de­signer Ellen Miro­jnick; com­poser Ge­off Zanelli; film ed­i­tors Laura Jen­nings and Craig Wood, ACE; vis­ual ef­fects su­per

vi­sor Gary Brozenich; makeup de­signer Paul Gooch; spe­cial makeup ef­fects de­signer David White; and stunt co­or­di­na­tors Si­mon Crane and Jo McLaren.

Still and all, a film can have all the “spec­ta­cle” of the world, but if the story isn’t re­lat­able, it falls short of its goal of en­ter­tain­ing and touch­ing the hearts of its view­ers.

That’s what, in­deed, Røn­ning be­lieves in. That, the suc­cess of the first film had a lot to do again with that emo­tional core, cour­tesy of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a mother fig­ure (Malef­i­cent) and a daugh­ter fig­ure (Aurora). He felt it was very im­por­tant for him to con­tinue this in the suc­ceed­ing chap­ter be­cause that’s what makes the film rel­e­vant and re­lat­able.

Røn­ning, who is a pro­lific di­rec­tor, writer and pro­ducer orig­i­nally from San­de­fjord, Nor­way, said that he has al­ways wanted to work in Hol­ly­wood.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to do films and I’ve dreamed of this since the 1980s, mak­ing short films with my fa­ther’s home video cam­era.”

Af­ter study­ing in a film school and set­ting up a pro­duc­tion house that did com­mer­cials, he came up with his first Nor­we­gian fea­ture film, the World War 2 drama

Max Manus, in 2008. It be­came the high­est-gross­ing Nor­we­gian film of all time. He next di­rected Kon-Tiki (2013) about the leg­endary ex­plorer Thor Hey­er­dahl. It be­came the first Nor­we­gian film to ever re­ceive both a Golden Globe nom­i­na­tion and an Academy Award nom­i­na­tion for Best For­eign film.

In 2017, Røn­ning then di­rected Pi­rates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for Dis­ney. It earned a whop­ping $800 mil­lion world­wide.

Now, as the di­rec­tor of the highly-an­tic­i­pated Malef­i­cent se­quel, it seems it’s not just a dream come true, but his own fairy­tale com­ing to life. (Dis­ney’s Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil hits Philip­pine cine­mas on Oct. 16.)

 ??  ?? Michelle Pfeif­fer plays Queen Ingrith, Malef­i­cent’s wor­thy ad­ver­sary.
— Photo by An­drew Macpher­son
Michelle Pfeif­fer plays Queen Ingrith, Malef­i­cent’s wor­thy ad­ver­sary. — Photo by An­drew Macpher­son
 ??  ?? Nor­we­gian di­rec­tor Joachim Ron­ning helms the Malef­i­cent se­quel.
— Photo by Greg Wil­liams
Nor­we­gian di­rec­tor Joachim Ron­ning helms the Malef­i­cent se­quel. — Photo by Greg Wil­liams
 ??  ?? An­gelina Jolie (right) and Elle Fan­ning top­bill Dis­ney’s Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil. — Photo by Ja­son Bell
An­gelina Jolie (right) and Elle Fan­ning top­bill Dis­ney’s Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil. — Photo by Ja­son Bell
 ??  ?? A pub­lic­ity still from the fan­tasy-ad­ven­ture film, which hits Philip­pine cine­mas on Oct. 16
A pub­lic­ity still from the fan­tasy-ad­ven­ture film, which hits Philip­pine cine­mas on Oct. 16

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