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.

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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