The Disney fantasy-thriller Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, has been bumped up from July 2, 2014 to May 30, 2014. The decision likely stems from a desire to keep well away from the hoopla of the next entries in both the Transformers and Fast and Furious franchises, not to mention the World Cup, which is being played in Brazil next summer. The release date was initially moved to July to accommodate some minor re-shoots, so apparently everything is going smoothly with the final touches on the picture.
Maleficent is a live-action adaptation of the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty told from the perspective of the Mistress of all Evil – Maleficent herself. Not unlike the musical Wicked, which seeks to make the Wicked Witch of the West a sympathetic character, Maleficent tells the story of how its title character wasn’t always wicked and vengeful, and indeed once was loving and joyful. When she was young, a rival King had invaded her father’s kingdom, and it was Maleficent who bravely defended it. In the process, Maleficent was deeply betrayed, her heart turned cold and bitter. Years later, when she is faced with the invading King’s successor, she seizes an opportunity for revenge by casting a wicked spell on his daughter, the Princess Aurora, played by Elle Fanning of Super 8. Over time Maleficent begins to realize that Aurora holds the keys to the peace and happiness in both kingdoms.
Translation from animation to live action is notoriously difficult, so it is perhaps with that in mind that Disney selected Robert Stromberg, two-time Oscar winner for Production Design (Avatar, Alice In Wonderland) to direct. Tim Burton was once attached to command the project but had to drop out because of prior obligations. Linda Woolverton, who collaborated with Burton on the Alice In Wonderland screenplay, and wrote the scripts for the classic animated Disney films Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King, wrote the Maleficent script with assistance from Paul Dini.
Sharlto Copley (District 9), Sam Riley (Control), Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises), Brenton Thwaits (Home And Away), Miranda Richardson (The Harry Potter series) and Imelda Staunton (The Harry Potter series) star. Seven time Oscar winner for Special Effects Make-up, Rick Baker is also on board.
Joe Roth, Don Hahn and Richard D. Zanuck are producing under the Roth Studio banner with Disney distributing.