'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' director Joachim Rønning wanted to focus on the ''emotional core'' of the sequel.

The 47-year-old filmmaker was at the helm as Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning reprised their roles as Maleficent and Aurora in the live action Disney fantasy based on 'Sleeping Beauty', and he was keen to continue the work done in the 2014 movie - directed by Robert Stromberg - when it came to the way their characters interacted.

He told Collider: ''What was most important for me, in this story and in any story that I do, as a filmmaker, is to find the emotional core of it.

''What grabbed me so much in the first film, and I think surprised audiences, all over the world, and made it such a huge hit, was that they managed to create such a strong bond between Maleficent and Aurora. People can relate to that.

''It's a spectacle and a fairytale, but people can relate to these characters. I'm a parent myself, and I totally relate to that fear. I have two young girls, and one day they're gonna move out and you won't be the most important thing in their lives anymore.''

The sequel culminates in a huge battle scene, and 'Pirates of the Caribbean' filmmaker Rønning admitted it was a challenge to keep a story running where there were so many stories and characters to focus on.

He added: ''In a way, I'm the only one on set that really knows how the whole movie is holding together. Sometimes my head wanted to explode on this set 'cause it was 12 or 13 characters.

''Especially towards the end of the film, in the battle, we're following so many different characters, and then they all come together, at the very end there.

''The characters are the most important, so I always keep coming back to that and try to respect that, as much as I can.''