Angelina Jolie at a hotel in Shanghai during a promotional tour for her film Maleficent. [Photo/China Daily]
On her first trip to the mainland, Angelina Jolie promotes her latest film Maleficent and says she is keen to collaborate with Chinese filmmakers. Matt Hodges reports from Shanghai.
Angelina Jolie has earlier played a "tomb-raiding" British explorer, a Russian spy and a kung fu tigress, but her latest role as a malevolent fairy with a soft spot and devilish sense of humor tops them all, she said during her first visit to the Chinese mainland last week.
In Maleficent, Disney's CGI-heavy revisionist revamp of its classic Sleeping Beauty (1959 ), Jolie gets to use her English headmistress accent and wear curved black horns while appearing on screen for the first time with one of her six children. The movie is told from the perspective of the once-bitten-twice-shy villain.
"I did love playing Maleficent. I think she was one of the most challenging (characters) because she's so broad," Jolie tells a media conference at the Peninsula Shanghai on the Bund. "I never get cast as normal.
"I had to not be so self-conscious. I had to play a lot more with her, to try to be more entertaining," she says, comparing the role favorably with her breakthrough Lara Croft in 2001.
"Lara was certainly, when I was young, the greatest－to be offered to do something where you get to train with the British military and travel the world－was just the greatest job ever. And of course I went to Cambodia for the first time, and doing Tomb Raider really changed my life and my family, in many ways.
"But Maleficent's a woman, and she's much more complicated than a Lara Croft character, and she has all those things I've learned as I've grown up. And there are nice heavy themes that would usually take place in a drama."