Maleficent took in an impressive $70 million haul on its opening weekend, maniacally laughing all the way to the bank. However, the witch’s memorably devious laugh didn’t come easy for the actress; she had to practice it over and over again in front of a mirror to figure out the character, which isn’t as fun as it sounds. “It’s hard to laugh,” Jolie tells Yahoo Movies. “Anybody that reads this should try this: Go into your bathroom and actually try to do the biggest laugh you can possibly do [into the mirror]. It was one of the hardest things to do.”
Jolie, who said she didn’t need to look beyond the villainess in Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty for inspiration (the onscreen laugh we see in Maleficent is actually a blend of Jolie and Eleanor Audley’s original), explained an exercise she partook in during production that helped her find the perfect bellow. It involved creating a circle of people, each laying on their backs with their heads on someone else’s stomach. One person laughs, “And somehow the absurdity of that makes the next person laugh, and the next person laugh… they’re pushing on the part of you that makes you express. So if you do this weird exercise it makes everybody bring out their biggest laugh.”
Added Jolie, “These are the things we were doing on set.” And then she laughed.