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Sam Riley on Preparing for the Role of Diaval in the film Maleficent

We attended the interview as a guest of Disney


Photo courtesy of Disney

Sam Riley plays the role of Diaval in the upcoming film “Maleficent.”  In the film is a raven, and Maleficent’s confident. When preparing for the role, Riley and Jolie, “talked about what kind of relationship we were going to have together. We thought it would be fun if they acted a little like married couples,” said Riley.


Photo courtesy of Disney

Riley has done a lot of independent films in the past and has never done a film before like “Maleficent.” “I was charmed by the story. I thought it had a lot of old school appeal. I just wanted to do something different,” said Riley


Photo courtesy of Disney

He gives an incredible performance in the film portraying a raven, and we talked with Riley about what he did to prepare for the role. “While I was in London, they arranged for me to spend some time with ravens. I didn’t know anything about them – I thought they were crows. When they brought this massive cage into the room, it got out and started hoping around the table. I watched him for a couple of hours and filmed him. I had a movement coach who helped me to mimic certain aspects of the bird, and I even found myself running around the room flapping my wings. It was really embarrassing,” said Riley.


Photo courtesy of Disney

When creating his character, “They took my eyes for the animals. Each of the animals has qualities of either my facial expressions or eyes. The artistry and the craft of the people who built the set and the costumes were amazing,” said Riley.

Riley had never spent as much time in makeup before as he did for “Maleficent.” When talking about the challenges he said, “The challenges were practical. A lot more waiting around.”

The highlight when filming “Maleficent” for Riley was when his parents came to visit him on the set. “I didn’t start acting until the age of 26, and I gave my parents some worry. It was great driving my parents around the set, and introduced them to Angelina,” said Riley.

Majority of the films Riley has worked on have been with first-time directors like with Robert Stromberg on this film, “I had a feeling he had been doing it his entire life. He had a room with drawings ‘what an artist,'” said Riley.

See Sam Riley and his incredible performance in the film “Maleficent” this Friday, May 30th.

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