Angelina Jolie Admits Difficulty Returning for Maleficent Sequel After Brad Pitt Divorce

Maleficent, as a franchise, continues to defy expectations at the box office. Sitting atop this weekend’s box office, the movie has dethroned Todd Phillip’s living conversation in Joker. But, the star of Disney’s latest had to really amp herself up to portray the titular Mistress of Evil again. Struggles in her personal life only compounded her unease at picking back up the role after all these years. She’s due to star in Marvel Studio’s The Eternals next year, so the malaise might have subsided a bit. It is still interesting to hear a star of her stature speak so openly about her marriage and how her personal relationships can affect the work on a film. She told People all about how this time was different.

Jolie began, “It was a tough time. I’d been coming off a few years of difficulty, and I was not feeling very strong. In fact, I was feeling pretty broken. It took me a moment to feel the strength of [Maleficent] again.”

That strength is pretty key to the narrative overall as the first film was a bit of a revenge story where her character was wronged by the human world. Soaring not only literally but spiritually was key for Maleficent as she rose above the various conflicts at play in the first film. The sequel also benefits from her complete and utter command over the role. Jolie is the straw that stirs the drink in this franchise and having that confidence be challenged is relatable in a way.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil came up huge at this weekend's box office. The film will open with $37 million, just shy of the film's $40 million projections. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil follows 2014's Maleficent. The film surprised many by eclipsing Joker and outpacing Zombieland: Double Tap. When the sequel to the Jolie vehicle was announced, many were skeptical to the fact that anyone needed another chapter in the Maleficent story. This start would indicate that the hunger is there and the bet on making this a franchise wasn’t ill-advised.

The film is directed by Joachim Rønning and written by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Noah Harpster. The film's cast includes returning stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville with new additions Harris Dickinson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer. In the new film, a formidable queen (Pfeiffer) causes a rift between Maleficent (Jolie) and Princess Aurora (Fanning). Together, they must face new allies and enemies in a bid to protect the magical lands which they share.