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How Maleficent Movie Almost Didn't Come To Be

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If Angelina Jolie had turned down the role of Maleficent, producer Joe Roth says there would be no point in making the film. Luckily for him she said yes, and he's talking about how Jolie's family members had a hand in convincing her.

Joe Roth is juggling three films at once with Maleficent, Million Dollar Arm starring Jon Hamm and Heaven is for Real opening back to back. The prolific producer sat down with us to discuss his latest release starring Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church, Heaven is for Real based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name. Unlike Roth's other big budget productions (Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman), Heaven is for Real tells the true story of the Burpo family whose son's near death experience brought visions of Heaven. Most would be surprised to see Joe Roth's name attached to a project like this, but the former studio executive says scale doesn't matter to him, only the "big story on a smaller scale." He also adds that he seems to gravitate towards stories about second chances.


Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, on the other hand, is a big story on a big scale, and one that revolves around second chances. The film takes one of the beloved Disney villains and gives her a backstory on how she came to be evil. "Its watching an innocent being heart-broken," Roth adds.

While working at Disney as an executive running the studio, Roth learned that the Sleeping Beauty antagonist is the most popular of villains out of the cannon of Disney baddies. So when it came to putting together the film, Roth says he only had one actress in mind to play Maleficent and that was Angelina Jolie. He approached Jolie before signing the director. Watch Trailer

"It seemed like the only person you can put in the part. It was literally no point in making the movie if it wasn't her."


He tells the story of how he pitched the idea to Angelina Jolie. Immediately upon arriving to the Jolie-Pitt home, he received his first sign that this may go his way. One of the kids was playing around while wearing horns. Then another family member reminded Jolie that when she was young she wanted to play the part. Luckily for Roth, Jolie said yes on the spot. And fortunately for us, we get to see the collaboration on screen when MALEFICENT opens May 30, 2014.

VIDEO: MALIFICENT Director on Angelina Jolie & Daughter's Acting Debut

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