Curse of the Golden Flower - elaborate gold jewellery and hair ornaments worn by Gong Li as the Empress.
This Week’s Cover: Angelina Jolie is ‘Maleficent’! An exclusive in-depth interview
“They went, ‘She’s so scary!’” Jolie tells EW this week, in her first in-depth interview about the film (out May 30).
Only Vivienne, one of her and Brad Pitt’s youngest children, proved not to be scared by the intimidating black horns and icy cackle. The now-5-year-old even ended up playing a young version of Princess Aurora in the film (as seen in this exclusive new image). But that casting was done more out of necessity than ambition.
“We think it’s fun for our kids to have cameos and join us on set, but not to be actors. That’s not our goal for Brad and I at all,” Jolie says. “But the other 3- and 4-year-old [performers] wouldn’t come near me. It had to be a child that liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv.”
GET EW ON YOUR TABLET: Subscribe today and get instant access!
To convince her brood of little ones that mom should take the part, the actress says she gathered them together for story time to explain the fantasy film’s take on the self-proclaimed “Mistress of All Evil.” By the time she detailed the character’s new origin, there was definitely sympathy for this devil.
“I said, ‘Let me tell you the real story but you can’t tell anybody,’” she recalls. “So this was my test too, like any parent. The next day, I heard Shiloh getting into a fight with another kid, defending Maleficent, saying, ‘You don’t understand her!’ They got into a bit of an argument and I thought, that’s the reason to do the film.”
It’s not that Maleficent is justified, but this story shows how she became misguided. “When that character makes mistakes — which Maleficent does, and crosses many lines — you want them to be angry at her and concerned and confused and in the end, somehow understand something that they didn’t know before,” Jolie says.
It still took awhile for the older kids to get used to her malevolent new appearance, though.
“When Pax saw me for the first time, he ran away and got upset — and I thought he was kidding, so I was pretending to chase him until I actually found him crying,” Jolie says. “I had to take off pieces [of the makeup] in front of him to show him it was all fake and not freak out so much.”
Eventually they got used to it. Pax and Zahara also turn up as extras in the famous christening scene, when Maleficent appears to place the sleeping curse on the kingdom’s infant princess. “I had to walk by them being very mean,” Jolie says. “Of course, I wanted to stop and wink at them.”
I lurve this!!
I’ve seen this before, but I couldn’t put it into words: Teen Wolf is a show of deliberate superficiality, of an intense underestimation of its audience; where the scenes that matter, the scenes that have all the effort and thought put into them, are those meant to stimulate the senses or the emotions without actually engaging intellectually: characters slowly walking in the darkness with spooky music playing the background, cheap deaths, deformed monsters, manpain, any scene meant to bring a tear to your eye, dramatic reveals, “cool” action scenes, sexual titillation and so many other examples.
Teen Wolf is all frosting and no actual cake underneath. And normally I wouldn’t rag about this, because it’s a very elitist thing to expect all media to have intellectually-engaging content. Eating a spoonful of frosting is perfectly fine if that’s what you like.
The problem is that Teen Wolf pretends to be different. It’s dishonest in its presentation. It carefully arranges scenes in teasers and trailers to show itself as far deeper than it actually is. Teen Wolf is a soap opera with supernatural horror elements, and it’s not even socially progressive (though it likes to pretend it is). Even within the show, ominous plot threads are hinted at and then either discarded or solved in insultingly simplistic ways (and I have yet to see fan speculation that was less interesting than what the show actually presented), and never a plot thread is resolved without at least another hook thrown in to keep the audience perpetually hooked, despite the lackluster resolutions.
The emotional scenes are exploitative. They are not meant to further character development (as they are often quickly forgotten once their purpose has been fulfilled) and they certainly have little to no connection to the plot.
The plots are presented as complex, but they are in fact insultingly simple. There is always a single sentence that sums every season’s plot up, and the rest is decoration. These superfluous plot threads, designed to provide artificial complexity (and hook the audience with empty promises) are often discarded as the show throws yet more ominous plots at the viewer, trusting them to forget the disappointing resolution they just witnessed.
Teen Wolf masters the art of making filler not feel like filler. A good 50% of the episodes in each 12-episode arc is made up of events that seem dramatic and crucial, but will never be addressed again, and will leave no lasting impact on the show. And that percentage I just gave is, I fear, quite generous.
The show runner’s faults are numerous, and are likely responsible for the many problems with the show, but the greatest fault of all is the show runner’s obsessive enamourment with his own ideas. Actors leave and their characters are recycled. The archetypes are maintained, the originally-envisaged storylines are delayed but always find their way back to the show. And it is here that we find the source of the disingenuity, of the deceit, of the false presentation: the show runner is far too proud of himself to acknowledge his problems. And thus, they will never be fixed.
That is the problem with Teen Wolf: It believes itself to be worth far more than it actually is.
Beautifully said. I agree. And I don’t feel like that’s how it was in season one. I feel like the showrunner had a leveled head. He kept his plots simple and you knew they were simple. The biggest question of that season was ‘who’s the alpha’ and it was solved in a simple but believable way. And then you see him move away from that structure in season two, by throwing two separate villains at you, and the way he solved Matt’s involvement was mind boggling and insulting. Then there was season three, where he threw two even more distinct and separate villains at you.
I think the problem with the way the show is told is that it’s hard not to notice how unprogressive it is. Especially with the show runner boasting about how progressive his show is. In season three, it’s hard not to notice that the only villains who died were the females. When a show is presented to you, it makes you a promise. It says ‘this is what i’m about, if that interests you, stick around’. Breaking bad, for example, was about seeing how much shit a man that our society views as a good man can do before he truly becomes a villain in the eyes of the audience. It was about watching what we perceive to be good men become villains and what we perceive to be throw away men become heroes. They held up that promise in my opinion. and in my opinion, that is one of the main structures a show needs to be truly good.
Teen wolf made us a promise too. It was supposed to be a teenage show about werewolves and season one fit nicely into that. It wasn’t too serious, it wasn’t too dark. But more importantly, it wasn’t too complex for Jeff Davis to be able to pull off. The problem now is that Jeff Davis wants to pull off more complex and intricate story telling but he’s still writing like he did in season one. The acting has stepped up immensely, and Jeff Davis hasn’t improved. He changed the promise of the show, but he hasn’t changed how he writes the show, and that’s causing him major problems story telling wise. The Showrunner is the weakest part of the show in my opinion.
God there’s some great additional analysis in the reblogs of this post.
I wanted to throw in a thought about the difference between season 1 and the rest of the seasons we’ve had since, too, and it speaks to the greater problems the show has had since season 1, as well. All of the conflict in season 1 — ALL of it — was inextricably entwined with the characters themselves. Scott was struggling with his new nature, what it meant for him, how it involved him in the Hale and Argent family drama, the ways in which Peter was trying to exert control over him, his relationship with Allison and what her family’s history meant for him. Derek was dealing with losses both recent and historic, his own extremely personal role in what happened to his family, the reappearance of his own personal demon in the form of Kate, and eventually with the reality of having to kill the man who was (at that time) literally his only surviving family. Allison was dealing with the revelation of what her family did and who they were, what that meant for her and for her relationship with Scott, essentially the realignment of her whole world, and being plunged into a supernatural world just like Scott. Even the characters who were less central to that particular storyline, like Stiles, had a lot to deal with, and all of that conflict hinged on their relationships with the other characters. Like, learning that the supernatural is real doesn’t necessarily have to change your life if you’re not supernatural yourself. A character like Stiles could in theory just walk away from all of it. But he doesn’t because Scott is his brother. Chris is invested in everything not just because of his job because of his daughter. Jackson is motivated by his own insecurities, Peter by revenge, they all have goals and needs that are both integral and personal and that’s what the entire season is built around.
Later seasons not only neglect to give us character moments at all, they don’t really invest our characters in the conflict at all. Season 2 you start to see the dynamic break down, although our characters are still invested because they’re trying to save Lydia and Jackson (and later to save everyone else from Jackson), and some of the conflict is still personal for them because it’s Gerard and Victoria, but you start to see the direction the show is headed with Matt, who comes out of left field and has a backstory convoluted enough that a lot of viewers thought he was a literal ghost hellbent on revenge for his actual death. Our heroes mostly clash with him because they’re trying to save the town, yes, but also just because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time (at the Sheriff’s station, figuring out it was Matt).
In 3A it all falls apart. Our sources of conflict are the Darach and the Alphas, who none of our characters even know; none of the conflicts presented really have anything to do with our actual characters, and not only does the plot start driving what the characters do, instead of the other way around, but the characters we actually care about are basically just caught in a meat grinder between these two opposing forces. The Alphas actually want Scott, sort of, maybe, but they’re relentless in their pursuit of Derek, and even after the resolution of that entire storyline I still have no idea why, whether they genuinely wanted him or if it was supposed to be a distraction or intimidation tactic, because mostly it seemed like an excuse for Derek to get tortured some more. Like really a lot. The Darach wants her revenge, and she kills a lot of bystanders to get it, but she also needlessly involves the local pack, going far beyond just working to get Derek on her side (again for reasons that make no sense within the plot) but also actively making enemies of Scott and his friends by threatening members of the pack and taking their parents for sacrifices. A lot of what happens in 3A makes no sense because literally the only reasons the villains act as they do is so that the main characters of this show will still have a reason to be on the show. Otherwise they’d be pushed entirely aside while Jeff chased down the obscure-plot rabbit hole after his shiny new characters (that nobody but him actually cares about).
The strength of 3B early on was that it brought a lot of that conflict back home, right to the kids’ doorsteps, and they were struggling with themselves and the consequences (oh my god consequences on Teen Wolf!) of what they did last season. They’ve made some problems more personal again, especially with Stiles (and in theory with Allison, but they’re either playing a long game there for another big reveal moment, or they’ve completely forgotten that she also has been having a darkness problem). I think they’ve actually done a great job with a lot of that, because this show’s weakness in these last few seasons has been completely abandoning character moments in favor of those BIG SCENES, that frosting as shadowknight brilliantly described it, and focusing the conflict on core characters is actually a winning strategy. But it’s faltered again as the show gets bogged down once more in big reveals and backstories we don’t care about, mythologies that are depicted as vast and complex while actually being shallow and nonsensical, random bombers and overacting bandage-faced mind monsters and fireflies. There are a lot of elements to this season that I think are really cool, but as shadowknight said, they fall apart because there’s no substance to them. They’re all frosting.
There’s a lot that’s made in fandom about “parallels” between seasons and in certain moments, but I’ve never seen the writers of this show as drawing any of those lines deliberately… there’s a difference between clever parallelism and stories and scenes that play similarly because you don’t have any new ideas. In season 1 it was “Who is the Alpha?!” (Which was a pretty decent mystery plot if you ask me, especially when they hit you with the reveal, and that ultimate confrontation was really visceral because the conflicts — between Kate and Derek and Scott, Allison and herself and her family’s expectations, Peter and his would-be murderer, Chris and his family, etc etc etc — were so personal.) In season 2 it was “who is the kanima?!” and season 3A was “who is the darach?!” and 3B started out with “who is the nogitsune?!” and is winding up with “who is going to die?!?!?!” That’s not a “parallel,” that’s what you call a one-trick pony. My guess is eventually they’re going to get a point where the question is going to be “who cares?” and I’m not sure that’s a riddle they’re ever going to solve when Jeff Davis is supposed to be the one providing the answers.
That’s a very on point analysis. Season one made you care about the characters, which is what I enjoyed most, but you’re absolutely right. It didn’t just make you care about the characters, the conflict came from the characters, which is A plus story telling. And this all ties into my problem with Jeff as a creator (and as someone pointed out, he only wrote three of the twelve episodes in season one). And someone else actually mentioned this after the last episode - Scott seems to be a bystander in his own life. Which is the entire problem with recent seasons. Since the conflict is no longer coming from the characters, the characters are always reacting to conflict, instead of pushing it.
And I feel like Jeff realizes that he’s fucking up - because it makes his characters look extremely passive, like bystanders in their own stories, because he’s constantly attempting to tie the cause of the conflicts to characters. Like the nogitsune is tied to the golden trio because their sacrifice unleashed it, the darach was tied to Derek who gave the nemeton enough power to heal Jennifer. But when he does it like that, we don’t get to see the characters make those mistakes that drive the conflict, because their mistakes are made when they’re reacting to other conflict that they didn’t cause. His writing is less of ‘all actions have consequences’ and more of ‘there was literally no other move for these characters to make’ tone to it. In season two, Derek created the kanima because he was an asshole who bit jackson, probably hoping he would die. His asshole move had a very clear consequence. Season three makes those consequences a lot more murky, and drags the conflict away from the characters.
But since jeff is so into having these more and more complex storylines, we don’t get any other actual conflicts that are character driven. We don’t see Isaac dealing with his intense anger issues, or dealing with living with a guy that terrifies him (or with the mccalls); we don’t get Isaac’s opinion on whether he has anyone now or not. We don’t get Scott dealing with the extra power that comes with being an alpha. We don’t even get his fear at possibly losing his best friend. We don’t get Allison dealing with the deaths she’s suffered, or dealing with moving on from scott. WE DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW SHE FEELS ABOUT ISAAC. We don’t get stiles’s emotions on the nogitsune line, or how he feels about his father being involved, or how he feels about scott being more powerful, or about derek playing beta now. We don’t even get conflict with lydia and her banshee powers. Every individual conflict he presents is always one note and episodic, and immediately forgotten the next episode. None of it is developed or grown over episodes. None of it comes to a head. He’s devoting so much time to these complex seasonal arcs that his characters are forced to remain stagnant, or their character development comes out of left field and makes no sense. And in season one, that wasn’t the problem.
this needs to be in every art history books in 10 years
Takkun and Riki.
Roberto and Jan.
Alberto and Claude.
I’m in heaven right now.
The Marauders used to take turns taking care of Harry when the others had Order business or were too busy or needed a night off. It became a tradition among them, as they were passing the baby into the next caretaker’s hands, to say “you’re it. good luck.”
The last thing Sirius saw as he was falling through the veil was Remus running over to Harry, and the last thought that ran through his head was “you’re it. good luck.”
I don’t even need to caption this WE ARE ALL THINKING THE SAME DAMN THING
My 5-year-old insists that Bilbo Baggins is a girl.
The first time she made this claim, I protested. Part of the fun of reading to your kids, after all, is in sharing the stories you loved as a child. And in the story I knew, Bilbo was a boy. A boy hobbit. (Whatever that entails.)
But my daughter was determined. She liked the story pretty well so far, but Bilbo was definitely a girl. So would I please start reading the book the right way? I hesitated. I imagined Tolkien spinning in his grave. I imagined mean letters from his testy estate. I imagined the story getting as lost in gender distinctions as dwarves in the Mirkwood.
Then I thought: What the hell, it’s just a pronoun. My daughter wants Bilbo to be a girl, so a girl she will be. And you know what? The switch was easy. Bilbo, it turns out, makes a terrific heroine. She’s tough, resourceful, humble, funny, and uses her wits to make off with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, she never makes an issue of her gender—and neither does anyone else.