Maleficent hit theaters this past week and is already performing very well. Realizing everyone has not seen it… yet… I will still remain as spoiler free in my interview with Sam Riley (Diaval) as I can. But, I must admit, he is perhaps my favorite supporting actor and such an instrumental part of the movie.
Our very first look at Diaval on the screen is as a raven just before Maleficent transforms into a bare-backed man. It was his first time to see Angelina Jolie in full costume and he was really nervous. Her “new” cheek bones, painted contact lenses, as well as the fact that it was Angelina Jolie all came into play. Not to mention, he was showing quite a bit of skin for his very first scene on the set.
You can only imagine that doing research on playing a raven had to be daunting. Alas, Sam Riley did his homework and created a fabulous inquisitive bird. He found as he watched the classic “Sleeping Beauty” that the raven “always looks half asleep.” This did not exactly give him too much to go on. Luckily, they were able to bring in real ravens for him to study and observe.
Watching the raven taught him that not only are they intelligent birds, but they are also kind of vain as well. I had to laugh when he said that he followed this bird around the room “just to see if anything would rub off on [him].” Plus, he was even able to spend time with a movement coach to fully encompass his role as the raven. Mr. Riley spoke of running around the room by the end of the day with his arms flapping as he squawked. Although it would have been awesome to see this on video, he did state that “under no circumstances do I ever want to see myself running around a room on YouTube going squawk.” But, I don’t know, I think that clip as an outtake would be amazing to watch!
Transforming from one animal to the next meant transitioning from a crouched bird to the other animal. Sometimes that meant flying in off balance as he landed as a man or wiping dirt off his paws from taking the form of a wolf. Personally, I think he did a terrific job and I am sure it had to be challenging. Even more difficult though was the emotional parts Diaval often found himself in.
As the only person that Maleficent talks to, and 16 years of spending every day together, I see Diaval as Maleficent’s conscience, if you will. He is the only one that can sense an element of good in her and tries almost daily to pull it our of her. He is her closest companion and, perhaps, best friend. The relationship between the two is extraordinary to experience and really added depth to Maleficent’s character for me.
Be sure to catch our interview with Elle Fanning, as well as Sharlto Copley (King Stefan) and Director, Robert Stromberg! Not to mention, don’t miss my full movie review (as well as my 10 year old daughter’s thoughts) of Maleficent too.
Maleficent is now in theaters everywhere. Like Maleficent on Facebook and follow @Maleficent on Twitter, as well as the hashtag #MaleficentEvent to learn more about the movie plus our cast and crew interviews.