How does one prepare to play a raven and best friend to Maleficent?
We had the opportunity to talk with Sam Riley from Maleficent who plays Diaval. Diaval is a raven who is Maleficents best friend, conscious, and so much more in Maleficent.
Want to know how to make a room full of bloggers giggle and swoon a bit….walk in and say that you are nervous and be gentle. Yep, Sam Riley was humble, fun, and well nervous to talk with us.
Was there research you had to do to figure out how to get into your character? Or did you have creative license because it wasn’t something that you knew?
Well I watched the old cartoon and things but it doesn’t really do very much in that. The raven always looks half asleep or something, so. I had some, they organized it so that they could bring in a real raven into a room about this big. I’d never seen a real raven before. I thought they were like crows but it’s like this big and it could do tricks and stuff, which is pretty scary.
I mean, when it gets its wings out it’s as long as the table or something. You know, really huge. And they’re very intelligent and they’re kind of vain as well which I thought was funny. But I just watched this raven in a room for awhile just to see if anything would, like, rub off on me and, that I could steal something from it while I’m the man part of the, of the thing. And there was a really nice lady who helped me doing a movement coach.
And we tried to copy bits of his movements. And by the end of the session I was actually running around the room flapping my wings.
It was horrific, yeah. She was like, “We should film this.” So I was, like, “Under no circumstances do I ever want to see myself running around a room on YouTube going [SQUAWK].” It was awful, but it helps. ‘Cause when you do something really stupid and embarrassing at the beginning, then, you know, like when she turns me from a bird into a man at the beginning I wasn’t wearing very many clothes, so, uh, which was a strange conversation to have for a Disney movie.
Like, how much bottom can you show? Um, so once you’ve done something really silly then everything else, it makes you more relaxed, you know. I should have done it before coming in here actually.
We asked how long Sam Riley had to spend in makeup. Can you believe he fell asleep while they worked on him. I was quite impressed with that skill
Um, it’s about three and half, four hours something? But I couldn’t really complain ’cause there were other people that had been in there since three o’clock in the morning, so it was ‘Cause they, they have to wake them up that early so that they’re ready to work at nine, you know? So the ladies and guys that were putting all this stuff on, they really, they probably work some of the hardest ’cause they have to be there at that time and then the whole day they have to make sure things aren’t falling off.
I managed to, I’m a really good sleeper. I used to be anyway. I’ve just had a baby. So we were, after a couple of weeks I managed to be able to lie down in the chair and while people were, like, gluing things to my face I could actually sleep through it which is pretty impressive. Until one morning they turned the seat back up and realized they stuck my nose on the wrong way, it was sticking up. So they wouldn’t let me do it anymore after that.
What’s your most memorable scene?
The first one really ’cause I was really nervous. I’d not seen, I met Angelina before, obviously, we rehearsed and things like that, but I’d never seen her in the full costume. And they drive you from your little trailer on a golf buggy which was pretty,they don’t usually do that on indy films anyway. And then they had this amazing set there and she was already there so I was worried that I’d been keeping her waiting or something which wasn’t a good start.
And she had her back to me and, you know, with all, the way it was all lit amazingly or something and then when she turned around it was like… It’s weird because it looked, you know it’s not real, the cheekbones and everything and the contact lenses. But when you look at her in, in all that stuff it kind of, it looks… natural is maybe not the right word but it fits, you know. You don’t think it looks fake or something. In fact I only really saw her in costume for like the first four weeks of the shooting. So it was strange to see her in her normal clothes afterwards. You know you got so used to seeing Maleficent every morning.
Since your character is a bird and then a human, did you have trouble transferring between the two?
They had the special effects people there on those days to sort of try and explain what, you know, when she clicks her fingers, do I go down or am I going up into the air or something like that? And the first time it was a bit strange ’cause they sort of went, “Well just go something like that.” And sometimes you feel really stupid doing these things. But it was good fun.
It was a great atmosphere on set because she’s so nice with all the crew and everybody and, so everybody’s really happy to come to work in the morning
You could tell during our interview how much Sam enjoyed working with Angelina and how much he respected her. He mentioned how friendly and nice she was to everyone on set. That it truly was a family environment on set.
After seeing Maleficent Diaval is one of my favorite characters from the movie. The way that Sam Riley is able to balance being a friend and the conscious of Maleficent is amazing.
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MALEFICENT is rated PG and releases in theaters everywhere on May 30th!
Disney flew me to LA to interview Angelina Jolie. All flight and hotel accommodations were covered.