Bringing the evil Maleficent—who first appeared in Disney’s classic animated 1959 film “Sleeping Beauty”—to life in this year’s live-action film “Maleficent,” the acclaimed talents of Oscar®-winning actress Angelina Jolie and a team of artists and designers were dedicated to create the villainess’s uniquely wicked style.
Everyone familiar with Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty” involved knows what the animated Maleficent looked like, so getting the look right for the live-action film was important to both director Robert Stromberg and Angelina Jolie. “Angelina was really passionate about not only who the character was, but what the character looked like,” said Stromberg. “We worked together to come up with a character that wasn’t that stereotype image, but was close enough that people would immediately know her to be Maleficent.”
Manuel Albarran, originally from Spain, joined the team to design Maleficent’s accessories such as jewelry and collars. He is an expert in metal couture, corsetry, leather and many other disciplines. EXTRA talked to Albarran about his work in “Maleficent,” opening in theaters May 30.
EXTRA: What was the design process like creating the accessories for Maleficent? Where did you get your inspiration from?
Manuel Albarran: Before designing, I do my research on the history of the characters. I use accessories and architecture to make them a little bit unique. After that, we work on the prototype and modify it. It is important to mix with something new and the avant-garde . I knew the design would be beautiful and when they asked me to do it for one of the characters I really love from Disney, I was excited. The inspiration for me came from inside and you have to think a lot about the characters.
Did you work closely with Angelina Jolie to do that?
It was easy to work with her. I understand what she wants. We worked with a team of a lot of designers doing a lot of the pieces. It was important to show how she feels and wants to show in that character. I was really trying to understand what she is feeling. She knows a lot about design and she is very elegant. The most difficult part was the technique to make it work when she was moving. I was more comfortable with the creative design.
How long did it take you to design the accessories?
The collar took the most time. For some it took two weeks, for some a week depending on the piece. But we had more than enough time to do it with a lot of people in the team.
Tell me about your background and upbringing and how you climbed up the leather to working with some of the biggest celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Beyonce and Madonna.
The passion comes first. I also traveled a lot. I learned a lot of techniques. I developed my talents as an artist and then I was doing much collaboration with so many artists. I was in magazines, in shootings. I was thinking more of a visionary. I started to travel when I was 22 in Europe. Because of my work and travel, I got different aspirations from cultures, architectures and it helped me to grow as an artist.