Angelina Jolie has starred in a variety of endeavors. She has appeared in films whose narrative appeal was better than its commercial. On the other hand, the actress has also participated in extravagant and ambitious box-office undertakings, which grossed hundreds of millions. Her versatile nature has cemented her standing within Hollywood.
Her highest-grossing film, Maleficent, was co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Roth Films. This entry in her filmography firmly outperformed her previous highest-grossing effort, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The budget for the 2014 live-action retelling of the 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty was between $180–263 million. Embarking on the journey were faces both known and unknown.
Among such individuals was Ella Purnell, who portrayed Teen Maleficent in the premise. What is intriguing, though, is that before the role went to her, another renowned talent auditioned for it. That someone was none other than The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy.
Anya Taylor-Joy’s Auditioned To Play A Younger Angelina Jolie in Maleficent
IMDb mentions that Anya Taylor-Joy auditioned for the part of Teen Maleficent. The role later went to Ella Purnell. In an interview with BuzzFeed Celeb, the former stated that being rejected from the endeavor forced her into tears. This marked her first audition ever. She was excited about the role, and despite bearing little resemblance to Angelina Jolie, the aspiring actress longed for it. Following was her statement:
“It was my first audition ever. It was my first experience of rejection, like true rejection. It was to play the young Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, and it was Disney, which for me was like—[gasps] oh my God! Even though I look nothing like her, I definitely cried for a very long time after that happened.”
Ella Purnell first tried out for the part of Princess Aurora. Later, she was cast as Teen Maleficent, thus replacing India Eisley. Previously, the latter had been anticipated to play the teen version of Angelina Jolie’s character. Although the two never met in person during the movie’s shooting, Jolie is claimed to have personally approved Purnell’s casting.
Anya Taylor-Joy Was Waiting For A Miracle
Taylor-Joy was eager to land the job. She had great hopes for the project. A part of her realized she would never get the role, but another naïve side of her believed a miracle could happen. On The Hollywood Reporter‘s Awards Chatter podcast, The Menu star had the following to comment about her first audition:
“My first audition was to play the young Angelina Jolie in Maleficent. Oh, I wanted it so badly. It was Disney and I love Angelina. I look nothing like her, so I was never going to get it, but I was naïve and I thought, ‘Miracles happen.’”
Unfortunately, the actress’s hoped-for miracle did not materialize, and as previously said, she was saddened by the rejection. Nevertheless, the young star would persist in her efforts, and soon enough, she would land her breakout role in Robert Eggers’ critically acclaimed $4 million horror movie The Witch (2015).
As for Maleficent, the journey would continue without Anya Taylor-Joy. However, other notable talents were hired, and the film went on to amass a worldwide total of $758.5 million at the box office. This marked an important turning point in Angelina Jolie’s career, as the movie became her highest-grossing film of all time globally.
Maleficent (2014) is available for renting/buying on Amazon Prime Video.