Angelina Jolie-starring Disney blockbuster Maleficent had an impressive cas of mostly British actors, which included Kenneth Cranham, Sam Riley, Janet McTeer, Imelda Staunton and An Adventure in Space and Time‘s Lesley Manville.
But no Doctors. Or was there?
It was recently revealed by Peter Capaldi that he had in fact been cast in the film (“I did quite a lot of green screen acting in the blockbuster movie Maleficent – from which I was cut!” he said at the Deep Breath premiere Q&A), and recorded scenes as King Kinloch, the ruler of the fairies.
Well, it seems that in an all-too-common move in cinema production in the USA, the reaction of test screening audiences resulted in all of Capaldi’s scenes being dropped or reshot with reattributed dialogue. The reason? Apparently the fairy court was considered too dull. Perhaps there was some feeling that the film was closer to The West Wing than Sleeping Beauty; perhaps the test screening people were dullards. Either way, we lost Capaldi from the hit movie, which is a big shame.
Says Diaval actor Sam Riley, “I remember on one of the first days, Peter Capaldi and I were chatting and he was starting to have his makeup put on. Then I went off and four hours later this goblin — or a man with a proper goblin’s head, moving and everything with little hairs in his ears — comes over to me and just carries on the conversation. I was like, ‘Is that you, Peter, under there?'”
But don’t think that Capaldi was somehow annoyed by the makeup. It seemes that he loved it, enthusing at the 2013 BAFTA TV awards: “I have nothing but nice things to say about this movie. The guy who directing Malificent is the production designer on Avatar [Robert Stromberg]. So you can imagine the scale. It has a very magical, dark look and a lot of the film’s characters — Imelda Staunton’s, for example — are computer generated. There’s only a handful of us who are real.
“And Angelina was absolutely lovely. They had Angelina on wires. She’d come flying in from way over there and land at your feet. It’s a big Disney movie with lots of special effects and incredible costumes and make-up. It was great. It was a big, magical, terrific moving story. I’m dying to see it.”
Further research shows that John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr Banks) was brought on board late in production to assist with reshoots. Whether this had a bearing or relation to the changes that were made are unclear, but it seems likely.
Perhaps we’ll one day see a version of Maleficent as originally intended, a director’s cut along the lines of Peter Jackson’s DVD releases of Lord of the Rings. Wouldn’t it be great to see the twelfth Doctor Who star as the Fairy King, alongside Miranda Richardson as Queen Ulla?