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Sam Riley is the Shape Shifting Raven from Maleficent

Sam 2

Did you see Malificent this weekend?  I saw it again.  I went in thinking that since I’d seen it already, it wouldn’t be as good.  Surprisingly, it WAS.  I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time.  Actually, I probably enjoyed it more, simply because I noticed a lot that I didn’t the first time.  Since I knew that I would be writing this post today, I paid very close attention to the Diaval character, played by the adorable Sam Riley.   He is an integral part of the story, even though most of action is non verbal. He shifts shapes and actually serves as a moral compass for the film.

I sat with Sam during the film’s press junket and here’s what I found out about him and his role:

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*on how he researched his role:

They organized it so that they could bring in a real raven into a room about this big.  I’d never seen a real raven before.  I thought they were like crows but it’s like this big and it could do tricks and stuff, which is pretty scary.  I mean, when it gets its wings out it’s as long as the table or something.  You know, really huge.  And they’re very intelligent and they’re kind of vain as well which I thought was funny.  But I just watched this raven in a room for awhile, just to see if anything would rub off on me and, that I could steal something from it while I’m the man part of the thing.  And there was a really nice lady who helped me doing a movement coach.  And we tried to copy bits of his movements.  And by the end of the session I was actually running around the room flapping my wings.

*on the makeup process for the character:

It’s about three and half, four hours.  But I couldn’t really complain ’cause there were other people that had been in there since three o’clock in the morning…[UNINTELLIGIBLE].  ‘Cause they have to wake them up that early so that they’re ready to work at nine, you know?  So the ladies and guys that were putting all this stuff on, they probably work some of the hardest ’cause they have to be there at that time and then the whole day they have to make sure things aren’t falling off. 

I’m a really good sleeper.  I used to be anyway.  I’ve just had a baby–well, my wife.  After a couple of weeks I managed to be able to lie down in the chair and while people were gluing things to my face I could actually sleep through it, which is pretty impressive.  Until one morning they turned the seat back up and realized they stuck my nose on the wrong way, it was sticking up.  So they wouldn’t let me do it anymore after that.

*on his many “transformations” in the movie:

The director got lots of beautiful drawings that he’d drawn of all the animals that I turn into so I had some idea what it would look like.  And I think there’s one brief bit of transformation in one of the trailers, but like for a split second.  And all my friends are like, “Yeah, that could be anybody, man, you know?”  Come on.  No, really, I’m really excited.

Disclosure:  I attended the Disney press junket for Maleficent in Los Angeles.  Disney covered my travel, lodging, meals and activities.  All of the opinions, however, are my own.

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