By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 13, 2012 at 9:05AM
Given her omnipresence in the media, it's easy to forget that Angelina Jolie hasn't actually appeared on screen for eighteen months, since the ill-fated "The Tourist." She's not been idle -- far from it, with voice work in "Kung Fu Panda 2" and her directorial debut "In The Land Of Blood and Honey" landing in 2011. But given that she's one of the few actresses who are able to get a project greenlight solely on their name, her absence from starring roles has surely been felt in certain quarters.
Jolie's in Berlin at present promoting her first effort behind the camera, which is screening out of competition at the festival, and it looks like the actress has finally decided on her next starring role. And despite various options, it looks to be the film that she's most associated with over the last few years: Disney's "Maleficent," a reboot of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, focusing on the villain of the piece. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to the actress at the Berlinale, where she told them that she's looking at making the film her next project. "I haven't acted in two years, and I haven't done anything else since this [Land of Blood and Honey]. The next thing I am looking at is a Disney movie," Jolie told the trade.
Initially eyed for Tim Burton, whose "Alice in Wonderland" screenwriter Linda Woolverton penned the script, the film was linked to a host of A-list directors including Darren Aronofsky, Guillermo Del Toro, David Yates and David O. Russell before landing on first-timer Robert Stromberg, the veteran production designer on films like "Avatar," and it looks like Jolie, who's keen on making a family-friendly live-action picture, is focusing on this for the moment.
What this does mean, however, is that the untitled dramatic thriller she was considering with Luc Besson at the helm, announced late last year, appears to have fallen out of contention: shooting was meant to get underway in April, but THR's sources say that Jolie is unlikely to do both films, and "Maleficent" is the priority. What they don't mention, but certainly doesn't seem to be happening any time soon, is "Cleopatra," a megabudgeted tale of the Egyptian empress, which David Fincher has been circling of late. With Fincher prioritizing "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" as his next film, and Jolie focusing on "Maleficent," it's clear that that's not going to be moving forward any time soon.
There's no exact word on when "Maleficent" will get going, but with Jolie now committed, we wouldn't be surprised if its before cameras later in the year. Disney haven't yet scheduled the film, but we assume that they're targetting a March 2014 date similar to the one they've favored of late for "Alice in Wonderland," "John Carter" and next year's "Oz The Great and Powerful."