updated 08/10/2013 AT 3:25 PM ET
•originally published 08/10/2013 AT 6:00 PM ET
Maybe it was the horns.
Angelina Jolie – who got a standing ovation at Saturday’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., while presenting a clip from her upcoming film Maleficent – revealed that she didn’t exactly get the same rapturous response when she was in costume as Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis.
“These little kids would visit the set, and I would think, ‘Oh, I am a Disney character,’ so I would go over to them, and say, ‘Hi there,’ ” Jolie told the packed crowd. “They would just scream.”
The mom-of-six added, “One little kid even said, ‘Mommy, please make the mean witch stop talking to me.’ ”
One child who didn’t scare so easily? Her daughter and costar Vivienne, who plays the young Sleeping Beauty.
“Vivienne was the only 4-year-old who didn’t scream when she saw me,” said Jolie, who wore a black Versace top and black Saint Laurent pants and shoes at the event.
She also revealed that it was her brother, James Haven, who remembered her childhood fascination with the evil sorceress and persuaded her to get involved with the project.
“Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite. I was terrified of her, but I was so drawn to her,” Jolie said. “She had this elegance and grace, and yet she was so cruel. Just wonderfully and deliciously cruel.”
Jolie admitted that one of the highlights of playing Maleficent was donning her signature headpiece.
“She loved wearing those horns,” director Robert Stromberg told PEOPLE. “After awhile it felt very strange to see her without them, like part of her was missing.”
While Jolie’s youngest daughter wasn’t there to promote her film debut (her siblings Pax, 8, and Zahara, 7, also have walk-on roles in the movie), the 38-year-old admitted that her kids weren’t far away.
“They are actually playing in the park now,” she said, referring to the Disneyland theme park across the street.
Maleficent will open July 2, 2014.