While Angelina Jolie has been the only actress seriously linked to Disney's Maleficent - a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the eponymous sorceress - there's been some question of late as to whether or not the Oscar-winner would eventually detach herself from the project. Given that recent reports pegged Jolie as working next on either a new thriller from Luc Besson or a Gertrude Bell biopic with director Ridley Scott, such a move seemed all the more likely.
Now that the aforementioned Besson film is reportedly on hold - and Scott has selected Cormac McCarthy's The Counselor as his next directing effort - it looks like Jolie is finally poised to become Maleficent after all.
Jolie attended the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, in order to promote her Golden Globe-nominated fictional feature directorial debut (In the Land of Blood and Honey). There, she announced that "the next thing I am looking at is a Disney movie." In other words, Jolie means Maleficent, a film that she spoke to THR about as recently as December 2011, highlighting her enthusiasm for the script penned by Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland).
Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg is making his directorial debut with Maleficent, which is now expected to begin production before 2012 draws to a close. Seeing how the Wolverton-penned shooting script should (essentially) be all ready to go - in combination with Jolie's newly-open schedule - the flick should have an easier time coming together over the upcoming months.
The casting of Jolie as Maleficent sounds pretty perfect on paper, given the actress' sultry appearance and screen presence. While she tends to excel at portraying characters both threatening and sexually-charged, chances are good that the Sleeping Beauty re-envisioning will feature a somewhat tamer variation on that familiar Jolie persona. This is still a movie being released under the Disney banner, after all.
Comparisons are already being drawn between Jolie in Maleficent and Charlize Theron in this year's Snow White and the Huntsman, as both of those acclaimed actresses are offering provocative new spins on familiar (evil) fairy tale enchantresses. Not to mention, both fable re-tellings are expected to focus more heavily around their respective villainous female leads, than previous adaptations have.
Maleficent, however, looks to deliver a more layered and complex incarnation of its namesake, whereas Theron as the queen in Universal's Snow White flick should be as purely evil as previous iterations of the character. So, really, Disney's film bears a stronger resemblance to the Wizard of Oz spin-off, Wicked, more than any other previous or upcoming fairy tale revisionist work.
We will continue to keep you up-to-date on the status of Maleficent as more information is released.