Maleficent – Fun using Family in Film

Angeline n VivienneJust saw Maleficient and love it. Great new twist to an old fairy tale, great effects with affable characters, and most of all –  an absolutely captivating turn from Angelina Jolie, easily one of her best film roles to date. The film was enjoyable from start to finish, with many a witty line too, but the bit that truly can’t make me stop smiling is the one where Jolie’s real-life daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt appeared in (above). Playing Princess Aurora aged 5, you can tell that her acting chops are still yet to be developed but gosh is she a cute kid or what. One half of the stunning star’s pair of twins (the other being the boy Knox), Vivienne simply has to play a little kid at play and – SPOILER ALERT – when she was in the scene where she was clingy with Maleficient,  it was obvious she was simply being herself when she’s with her mom as in real life! Jolie herself has said in interviews that her other children laughed at the very same scene cos “Viv’s just like that!” The star has explained that she eventually chose her daughter to play the young princess for that scene cos it was hard to find kids who weren’t scared of her in her domineering costume!
lesliehamiltongearren1Which brings to mind one of my favourite stories about using family in films. For 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement 2, the casting crew apparently spent weeks trying to search for an actress that could double  for the female lead Linda Hamilton during her character’s Sarah’s nuclear holocaust nightmare sequence so that the present and future Sarahs can be filmed in the same shot. When Hamilton finally heard of their dilemma, she asked innocently, “Will my twin sister do?” Like duh. So Leslie Hamilton Gearran, a nurse by profession, stood in as the future Sarah in the now-famous playground scene (above) and also in two other scenes  including as Sarah’s reflection in a mirror.
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Another family double story is from The X-Files albeit on the TV series and not the films. In the episode ‘A Christmas Carol’ in Season 5 (circa 1998), there was a flashback scene of a teenage Dana Scully at home opening Christmas presents. As the producers were about to give up after searching high and low looking for a young girl who would have a passing resemblance to female lead Gillian Anderson (above left), the actress – who has been making waves recently with her roles in three high-profile TV series namely The Fall, Hannibal and Crisis – casually asked “Will my younger sister do?” Er, yes she can, why didn’t you tell us earlier? You didn’t ask. So Zoe Anderson (above right) popped into the studios to play Scully as a teen and pre-FBI Agent.

Sofia coppola Godfather 1There are many other family tales – the news that Cody Walker, the lookalike younger brother of the late Paul Walker, will be used to finish his scenes in Fast & Furious 7 is one of the recent ones.  Another  fascinating blast from the past family tale  is 1972’s The Godfather. Director Francis Ford Coppola famously cast various family members in the movie including his dad Carmine (as a piano player), mom Italia (filler in the restaurant meeting), sister Talia Shire (who played Connie Corleone in the entire trilogy), sons Giancarlo and Roman (as extras in a fight sequence and the funeral scene), and last but by no means least, daughter Sofia Coppola who was a mere three-weeks-old when she played the baby “boy” in the baptism scene (above). Sofia would also appeared as an extra in 1974’s The Godfather II and replaced Winona Ryder as Mary Corleone in 1990’s The Godfather III before becoming an Oscar-winning screenwriter-director (2004’s Lost in Translation) in her own right.

Keeping it together with the family in films. Truly fascinating!

Angeline n Vivienne

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