Angelina Jolie arguably reached the height of her stardom with the 2014 Disney movie Maleficent, a fantasy film centered on the evil fairy queen from Sleeping Beauty. The PG-rated, CGI-laden movie grossed $758 million worldwide and launched its star into a position where she could basically do whatever she wanted in Hollywood. Jolie leveraged that success by taking on directorial projects near-and-dear to her heart, including the war movie Unbroken and the intimate art film By the Sea, which she also starred alongside Brad Pitt.
Jolie is currently in the process of promoting her newest challenging directorial project, First They Killed My Father, a non-fiction account of the horrors of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. In the near future, Jolie may finally dive back into the acting side of her career and one of her upcoming projects could be a return to arguably her biggest role.
THR says that, among a multitude of other projects, Jolie is considering jumping aboard the planned sequel Maleficent 2. The writer responsible for the first Maleficent, Linda Woolverton, is reported to be working on a script for the sequel which thus far has no director. According to THR, Jolie is also developing a Catherine the Great movie and a WWII spy film The Spy Who Loved for Universal, along with a possible directorial project in the war film Without Blood.
After a string of hits that included Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the action thrillers Salt and Wanted (with a few duds like The Tourist mixed in), Jolie capped her ascent to the top of Hollywood with a classically diva-like performance in Maleficent. Since then, Jolie has refused multiple opportunities to cash in, turning down offers to star in sequels to both Salt and Wanted. She has willingly returned to lend her voice to a pair of Kung Fu Panda sequels however. The rumor mill continues to attach her to a variety of projects including Captain Marvel and Ang Lee's Cleopatra.
Clearly, Jolie has bigger ambitions than just being a movie star. Her humanitarian efforts prove that, as do the challenging directorial projects she's taken on. Coming back for Maleficent 2 could be seen as a mere attempt to get a big pay day after a few years of turning down roles, but there's also the chance that Jolie simply enjoyed playing the character and would like to do so again.
From an acting stand-point, Jolie could use a hit movie, but would Maleficent 2 really be a good bet? Snow White and the Huntsman was similar to Maleficent in subject matter and tone, and its sequel, The Huntsman: Winter's War, was a resounding dud. It feels like maybe Maleficent and Snow White and the Huntsman were products of their time and perhaps that particular fantasy sub-genre is no longer bankable. We'll see how things go with this project and the others Jolie has in development.
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) release date: Mar 17, 2017