Disney sent out a press release this morning saying that production has finally began over at Pinewood Studios in London on the long-discussed origin story for one of the company’s most feared villains, the evil enchantress Maleficent from the 1959 classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’. After Angelina Jolie joined the project as the title character and producer about four months ago, things have really started to pick up. And here we are today with the very first image from the film, as seen below, courtesy of /Film, which doesn’t feature the iconic green skin of the character, but maybe that’s explained later on in the movie.
Aside from Jolie, there are some other impressive names rounding out this cast. Elle Fanning will be taking the role of Princess Aurora, the princess who becomes Sleeping Beauty. Sharlto Copley of ‘District 9’ will play King Stefan, “the half-human, half-fairy bastard son of the human king,” played by Kenneth Cranham. Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, and Lesley Manville will play the three fairies assigned to watch over Aurora. Miranda Richardson, who most may know as Rita Skeeter in the Harry Potter films, will play Queen Ulla, Maleficent’s aunt, and new comer from down under Brenton Thwaites, who will star in the Lifetime remake of ‘The Blue Lagoon’, will be taking the part of Prince Phillip.
Directed by two-time Oscar-winning production designer (but first time director) Robert Stromberg and written by frequent Disney collaborator Linda Woolverton, ‘Maleficent’ will take a ‘Wicked’ approach to the tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by revealing the origins and events that hardened the heart of the woman who would go on to be one of the most sinister villains in the entire Disney universe. It is scheduled to be released on March 14, 2014 in 3D.