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Angelina Jolie: Maleficent’s Wing-Tearing Scene Is a “Metaphor for Rape”

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie attend the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict on June 10, 2014 in London, England. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie.  

Angelina Jolie spoke to BBC Radio's Woman's Hour in a live broadcast Tuesday, June 10, where she compared one harrowing scene in Maleficent to rape. Addressing more than 300 government dignitaries at the London-hosted Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, UN Special Envoy Jolie was asked about the scene in the fairy tale fantasy film, in which the titular character's wings are torn off her body by a childhood friend.

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"We were very conscious, the writer [Linda Woolverton] and I, that it was a metaphor for rape," Jolie said of the harrowing sequence, in which Maleficent's wings are stolen as she's in a drug-induced sleep. "This would be the thing that would make her lose sight."

"At a certain point, the question of the story is what could possibly bring her back?" Jolie, 39, said.

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Screenwriter Woolverton explained in a separate movie featurette that Maleficent was "a reinvention, not just a retelling" of classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. "[We] created a past for her that lead to the moment in which she curses Aurora," Woolverton said, "then takes us past that moment from Maleficent's point of view."

Brad Pitt's fiancee explained to BBC Radio, "The core of [the film] is abuse, and how the abused have a choice of abusing others or overcoming and remaining loving, open people." She added, "The question was asked, 'What could make a woman become so dark? To lose all sense of her maternity, her womanhood, and her softness?'"

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Jolie spoke about her 2011 directorial debut, In the Land of Blood of Honey, which tells the story of the rape of Bosnian women during the 1995 Bosnian War. "I didn't realize how emotional this would be," Jolie said of the film, which, after its release, prompted the Hague to become involved with the issue of rape in times of conflict.

The star's reasons for tackling tough issues comes from her own life experiences, Jolie explained, revisiting her 2013 op-ed, in which she shared about her preventative double mastectomy. "Having lost my mother [Marcheline Bertrand]," Jolie said, "[along] with the thought that if she had the surgery, she may have been around years longer to have met my other children," prompted the mother of six to open up about her diagnosis.

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"The thought of telling my children I had cancer—because I didn't have the surgery—was more frightening to me," Jolie explained. "It was very important, and I am very happy that I made a decision that will help me be around for my children. I wanted to speak to other women, I wanted them to know there were options."

"It was, in fact, an easy choice."

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