In an interview with TooFab, the British actor, 39, recalled his experience of reuniting with Jolie and the cast for the Disney live-action sequel. Riley, who plays Maleficent's raven servant-turned-friend Diaval, said although it had been years, it felt like no time had passed since the first film, which was released in 2014.
"It was great. I have to say, I was really thrilled when I heard about it," Riley said of returning to the sequel. "As we got back together and we were all dressed up in these crazy costumes, it was like it was yesterday. I mean Elle [Fanning] had obviously gone from being a 14-year-old to a 21-year-old. We hung out more this time. We had a lot of fun, gossiping and messing around and it was great to work with Angie again."
"The first time I was just beginning to enjoy myself and relax when it was all over, because it was kind of not intimidating, she's not intimidating, but she's Angelina Jolie," he continued. "When she looks like this it's really something, you know. So I think I was quite daunted by the whole thing."
"So this time I was like, 'Well I'm just gonna, you know, I'm in it. I'm gonna enjoy myself,'" he added. "That's not to say I didn't enjoy the first one, but I really, this from day one was like, 'I know what's going to happen.' I'm not the least experienced on set anymore. So it was cool. I enjoyed it."
Five years after the events of the first film, Maleficent and Princess Aurora's (Elle Fanning) close relationship is put to the test when Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) proposes marriage. To make matters worse, Phillip's mom, Queen Ingris (Michelle Pfeiffer) plans to use the wedding to divide humans and fairies forever. Maleficent and Aurora, who find themselves on opposite sides of an impending war, are faced with the question if they are able to truly be a family.
According to Riley, since viewers loved Maleficent and Diaval's "old married couple" relationship in the first film, they decided to explore it more in the second film.
"We had a lot of fun doing it because Angie sort of felt that our relationship was one of the things that people did enjoy about the first one and how we could, you know, make even more out of it and more out of this sort of this old married couple relationship," he said. "They bicker with one another, but, you know he adores her."
"I think she hasn't noticed him yet, but maybe that's just Maleficent," he added. "And you know that he saw her right from the beginning of the first one that there was something more to her than this angry, hurt [creature] and that she loved Aurora and I think she just developed that more. He's got more confidence to just suggest things to guide her in the human world. And what's the worse she can do? Turn him into a mealworm or something? She'll cool down."
We don't want to spoil anything, but Maleficent turns Diaval into a new creature in the sequel. We won't tell you what, but it's absolutely epic.
"Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" hits theaters October 18.