Disney Hires ‘Wonderland’ Screenwriter for ‘Maleficent’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 25th, 2010 at 1:28 am,

Maleficent ScreenRant Disney Hires Wonderland Screenwriter for Maleficent

We’ve known since January that Disney was considering a live action take on Sleeping Beauty called Maleficent. Also floating around since early this year were rumors surrounding Tim Burton’s potential involvement as director for the project.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog now reports the studio has hired Alice in Wonderland screenwriter Linda Woolverton to write the script – an alternate telling of the Sleeping Beauty story told from the perspective of the “Mistress of All Evil” herself.

By way of reminder for those who haven’t dusted off their Disney DVD’s in awhile, Maleficent is the green-skinned witch who causes Princess Aurora to fall into a deep sleep until she is awakened by Prince Philip’s kiss. Heat Vision is quick to remind us that Maleficent is one of Disney’s darkest villains, with the ability to “morph into several forms, including a terrifying black and purple dragon.”

The stakes were definitely higher in Sleeping Beauty than many of Disney’s other animated fairy tales; in the climax, Prince Philip battles through a thicket of dark thorns as he fights the fire-breathing Maleficent in order to obtain his true love’s first kiss.

It will be interesting to see just how far Disney is willing to take the concept of telling the tale from Maleficent’s point of view. Considering we’ve seen similar story elements in the Shrek films with the misunderstood Dragon, I’m wondering how close Disney is willing to mirror that plot point – or if they’ll choose to take a no-holds-barred look at Maleficent’s bad side.

sleeping beauty malficient dragon Disney Hires Wonderland Screenwriter for Maleficent

Philip vs. Maleficent

In these early stages, I’m reminded of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood – if you’ll recall, that film was initially supposed to be a look at the Robin Hood legend through the eyes of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Of course, in the ensuing months that film has taken a new shape and will be more of a traditional take on the mythology.

Heat Vision makes mention of Burton’s rumored candidacy as the director of Maleficent, but clearly states that “no deal has been made” with him and “the hiring of Woolverton is the first concrete step forward in [the film's] development.”

What do you think about Tim Burton potentially returning to the Disney well for another alternative take on a classic story? Is anyone holding out hope for Maleficent?

Source: Heat Vision Blog

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  1. she's one of my favorite Disney characters ever…so yeah…definitely looking forward to it. I also dig stories told from alternate perspectives, at least it's an attempt to offer something different rather than the same old story we've seen a bunch of times.

  2. This movie will not work its going to be Satanic for Disney to earn rights. But it will be a great idea for Disney working on Sleeping Beauty and the remake. For Maleficent (The spin off) from Sleeping Beauty is going to very scary for Children to watch. That will be a bad idea. Sleeping Beauty is more Heroinism. Villains are too campy and boaring. Its better for Heroines to start their own Tale not the villains.

  3. This should definitely be interesting, first of all because the screenwriter is Linda Woolverton, I simply adored her perspective on Alice in Wonderland and the whole story. So I'm betting that this will also be a success, especially since stories told from the negative character's point of view are always appealing.

  4. I love Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent is by far my favorite Disney villain ever. I heard the screenplay to Alice and Wonderland was very well written, so the screen writer from that movie jumping on board to bring this “Maleficent” movie to life sounds good.
    My only concern is Tim Burton, if he is directing it I will not watch it, even though Sleeping Beauty is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. He keeps remaking all these classic fairy tales and doesn't do a great job at it. He makes them all overly dark all the time, they all look alike and have mainly the same actors. If he is the director I wouldn't be surprised if he hires his wife to play the infamous “Mistress of all Evil.” Which is why I wouldn't watch it. They need to bring in a different director to give the audience something fresh to look at.
    This movie has a lot of potential and I hope they don't ruin that by bringing in Burton. His time in the fairy tale genre is long overdue.
    Oh yeah, and by the way, the prince in Sleeping Beauty actually has a name. He is Prince Philip, not Prince Charming. ;]

  5. Right you are, JBonilla. I went through and corrected the mistake. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Also – I agree with you about Burton. He really needs to go back and make something original like “Big Fish” again instead of grasping on to remakes and old fairy tales.

  6. Either the last of the good ideas left or the first of the bad ideas yet to come…

  7. I agree with JBonilla. Something tells me that if Burton does this film, Helena Bonham Carter will be Maleficent. Not that she is a bad actress, but I like seeing difference. Burton just doesn’t know how to be different. However, asking Burton to be brighter overall would be like asking Jet Li to do a romantic comedy.

  8. Tim burton does a wonderfull job at bringing things to life, he also has a lot on his plate right now, and Helena is a great actress and some of her best roles have been with burton. but i really dont see this role going to her, maybe a quarky side kick, and besides based on the whole plot outlook its gunna be a dark movie, there is no way around it, i would rather have burton do it and do it right than have some up and comming director try to lighten it up