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How Angelina Jolie's Dark Fairy Look Came Together In Disney's 'Maleficent'


One of Disney's darkest fairy tales is back.


ANGELINA JOLIE: (As Maleficent) Don't ruin my morning.

CHANG: Angelina Jolie reprises her role as the godmother of Sleeping Beauty. The movie is called "Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil." NPR's Mandalit del Barco introduces us to the artist who created her look.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: The flying fairy is famous for her curved horns, chiseled cheekbones, fangs and huge wings. For the first live-action "Maleficent" movie, Angelina Jolie requested special effects makeup master Rick Baker work on her.

RICK BAKER: I was kind of terrified because, you know, first of all, she's, you know, one of the most beautiful women in the world. I didn't want to be responsible for screwing up her skin or anything, you know? But Angie really felt Maleficent is a creature, you know, and should have something other than just Angelina Jolie's face, and she's the one that suggested the angular cheekbones.

DEL BARCO: He says Jolie was inspired by the ridge-like cheekbones Lady Gaga wore in her "Born This Way" video, and she suggested contact lenses resembling goat eyes. The seven-time Oscar winner and his team created elegant prosthetics for Maleficent - besides the cheekbones, a fake nose bridge and pointy fairy ears. Baker also made lightweight, gazelle-like horns that attached to a leather-wrapped headpiece with magnets.

BAKER: I think we came up with something that did work, and she still was quite beautiful.

DEL BARCO: For the sequel, special makeup effects designer David White slightly updated Maleficent's look. He and his team also design each fairy from what's called the dark fae, winged creatures banned from the human world.

DAVID WHITE: There are desert fae. There are jungle fae. There are tundra fae and forest fae, so they're all very individual. So I use the kind of idea that wherever they came from, they would literally morph into their own environment.

DEL BARCO: So the forest fairies like Maleficent were earthy, with browns and greens. The fairies from the tundra had very pale complexions, steel blue eyes and more feathers to protect them from the cold.

WHITE: The horns were unique as well. They had a very distinctive texture to them, sort of a walrus' tusk.

DEL BARCO: The fairies from the desert had more pointed, upright horns like impalas.

WHITE: Also, their skin - they had a kind of a cracked parchment, imitating their surroundings. The jungle horns were massive and very garish - blues and reds and yellows, bright colors like parrots and exotic birds of paradise.

DEL BARCO: The wings were computer-generated for the film, but the actors wore prototypes. White says he researched plumage from parrots, snow owls and other birds. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnik says she found inspiration everywhere, too - tribal face paints, bugs, gems, even outlandish couture from fashion runways. She designed the fairy dresses in the movie with fluid fabrics.

ELLEN MIROJNIK: They're light and they're airy - georgette and chiffon and habotai, which is a very thin Chinese silk, really light as a feather, so very flyable.

DEL BARCO: Mirojnik designed Aurora's gowns to look as though the fairies had sewn them. She decked out Maleficent's nemesis Queen Ingrith with a luxurious yoke full of pearls. And she wanted Maleficent to look regal and intimidating, painted in black as a warrior and, near the end, in black velvet and lace.

MIROJNIK: There was an overall feeling of a screen siren, of black and white. It's a play of light and dark.

DEL BARCO: The end result, she says, was a raw and fierce Maleficent.


DEL BARCO: A promo video from the film's L.A. premiere shows Angelina Jolie cheered on by fans wearing her costume.

UNIDENTIFIED MOVIEGOER: You look at somebody dressed in that, and you know that you share the same spirit of - a bit of wild, a bit of abandon, a little bit of wickedness. So it's - we're like a tribe.

DEL BARCO: A tribe of misunderstood forest fairies.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.