"Maleficent," the revisionist and live/action take on the "Sleeping Beauty" tale has lost its director.
Tim Burton, who had tentatively planned to reunite with Disney and "Alice In Wonderland" scribe Linda Woolverton in the spring of 2010 for this project, has decided to bow out of the picture despite the 'Alice'/Disney combination racking in over $1 billion last year.
Angelia Jolie has long been attached as the titular character — essentially the evil witch antagonist in Disney's animated 1959's "Sleeping Beauty" -- but there hadn't been any other movement on the film since, despite it clearly being a priority for four-quandrant tentpole-happy Disney.
Even at the time of its announcement, Burton's involvement was unclear: he's currently juggling production on the stop-motion animation "Frankenweenie" and pre-production on vampire flick "Dark Shadows," with Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz, plus he's got a number of other projects on the slate, including the big-budget "Monsterpocalypse", and a possible "Addams Family" reboot. It won't shock you that none of those films are gritty, kitchen-sink dramas. Hence, it's not hugely surprising that Burton's bailed on the film.
Presumably Disney wants to move forward with this project and doesn't want to wait for Burton, which is why they're apparently trying to woo David Yates, the helmer behind four of the "Harry Potter" films. Fairytales are obviously all the rage, so even if Yates passes -- and the serious-minded director, one of the most sought after helmers around, might want a break from witches and wizards after four Potter movies in a row -- Disney surely won't rest till a suitable replacement is found.