Mert and Marcus talk Maleficent shoot
Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott have recalled their aim when photographing the Maleficent poster.
The iconic photographers shot actress Angelina Jolie, who plays the title character, in full-costume for the promotional picture. Set on an off-white background the poster sees the star glaring into the camera with menacing green eyes and bold red lips, which stand out from the paleness of her skin and her black dress and horns.
Rather than give off a terrifying image, Mert and Marcus wanted to give a more human-feel to the snap.
“We wanted to try something more bold and graphic, sort of unlike the usual movie posters,” they explained to WWD. “It was important to us that [Angelina] didn’t come across as [an] ‘evil queen,’ and that she had a lot of emotion and depth to her character.”
The film puts a dark twist on the classic story of Sleeping Beauty, instead focusing on the point of view of the villainous dark fairy. Mert and Marcus captured the simple yet striking photo in their London studio and describe Angelina as “an incredible muse" during the shoot.
Unlike a fashion shoot, where they "are also responsible for making the garments look great,” the duo found they were able to focus more on Maleficent's visual nature to get the "quite romantic" final shot.
London-based milliner Justin Smith also helped get Angelina into character, helping create the iconic curved horns. They are made from materials such as fine goat nappa leather and python skin to add authenticity. It was the actress herself that selected Justin to get involved.
“We wanted to respect the original fifties [Maleficent] animation, but make [the character] edgy," Justin said. “[It ended up being] a fusion of Angelina and Maleficent.”
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