If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the promotion of Maleficent it’s that not much can taint Angelina Jolie’s beauty—even prosthetics and horns. As the eponymous villain in Disney’s update on Sleeping Beauty, the actress underwent a tremendous transformation to play the role, but even with three hours worth of prosthetics and makeup, she still looked gorgeous. “It’s hard to not make that face beautiful,” Rick Baker, the man behind Jolie’s Maleficent prosthetics tells InStyle.com. However, look closely and you’ll detect subtle yet substantial changes in her appearance.
“She wanted to make sure she didn’t look too much like herself,” Baker says. “She had some very specific ideas about the character. In her mind she was a creature.” In order to bring her otherworldly vision to life, she insisted on using prosthetics, which included pieces to enhance her cheekbones and nose, as well as vivid colored contacts. However, the most intensive aspect of her transformation was the creation of her horns.
“We spent a lot of time on the look of the horns, but had to make them as light as possible and removable,” Baker says. “It’s amazing, even if you have something that weighs a pound, it will feel very heavy at the end of the day.” To ensure she could wear them comfortably while filming, Baker created a skullcap that had magnetic nubs, which allowed the horns to be attached easily and without much weight.
Once Baker finished finalizing the horns with Jolie, she brought in Justin Smith, a renowned British milliner, to design the cowls that went over the prosthetic horns. “[Angelina and I] met every day to discuss the different pieces,” Smith tells InStyle.com. “She helped me push the boundaries and create things I’ve never created before.” Their collaboration resulted in six different pieces, which were used to reflect the pivotal scenes in the movie. "All of the pieces had their challenging moments, but in the end, I wanted to respect the [horned] silhouette, while creating something iconic." Something he certainly achieved!
1. Creating the Prosthetics
In order to turn Angelina Jolie into Maleficent, special effect makeup artist Rick Baker worked with silicon gel, the same material used to create breast implants. "It's translucent and you can intrinsically color it to look like flesh without have to put much paint on it," he explained. "People probably wouldn't think it took three hours a day to achieve because it looks pretty simple, but smooth, beautiful skin is the hardest thing to do."
2. Notice the Nose
You may not immediately recognize this change, but Jolie's nose is slightly larger. "It's really the bridge of the nose," Baker points out. "Her nose is flatter and closer to her face. [The prosthetic] gave her a bump on her nose, especially in the profile."
3. Maleficent's Stand-Out Cheekbones
One of the most dramatic differences between Angelina Jolie and Maleficent's appearance are the cheekbones. "The cheekbones were her suggestion. She wanted that ridge," Baker says. "While it looks even larger, the appliance is [only] an inch-and-a-half away from her skin."
4. The Creation of the Horns
"The horns were the most difficult to make practical," Baker told us. "They're about a foot long and they can put strain on your neck, and you can walk into things!" To make sure that she could wear them easily, he went through six different versions, finally settling on a design that used magnets to clip onto her head.
5. Working Around the Horns
After Baker finalized the horns, milliner Justin Smith worked to cover and drape them. "The initial thing was establishing the head shape and working around the horns," he told us. "Once we figured that out, we could start wrapping and playing with the draping."
6. Maleficent as a Creature of the Forest
In keeping with Jolie's idea that Maleficent is a creature, Smith made sure that he designed pieces that enhanced that vision. "They wanted it to look like Maleficent had grown from the forest, so we brought in a various different types of fabrics, including natural materials like python and stingray skin, in order to create textures."
7. Maleficent's Wings
Before Maleficent loses her wings, she flies around with the help of these life-size and realistic appendages, which mimic the look of a bird's wings.
8. Detail of Maleficent's Collar
As Maleficent lives in the forest, designer Manuel Albarran chose to use organic materials, like the bones and feathers he used here. "We wanted her to be elegant, but at the same time be powerful and strong, which is why we used soft feathers and strong bone," he explained.
9. Maleficent's Jewelry
"We wanted the jewelry to be glamorous and powerful, especially the rings," Albarran told us. To achieve the look, he and his team turned to nature. "We used bones and animal heads mixed with gold jewelry and leather."
10. Making Maleficent Modern
Ultimately, everyone was striving to bring the animated version to life, but at the same time keep it modern. "The Disney animation was a key point of reference, and we were trying to respect that, but also bring an element of sexiness into what we were trying to do," Smith said.