'World War Z' Again? John Lee Hancock To Oversee Reshoots Of 'Maleficent' To Fix Opening

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by Kevin Jagernauth
October 10, 2013 2:38 PM
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As Marc Forster of "World War Z" fame and Carl Rinsch, of the upcoming and frequently delayed "47 Ronin" know, sometimes a blockbuster movie can escape your grasp. Whether it's the sheer scale of the production or not all the parts being the in the right place at the right time, a tentpole can quickly turn into a nightmare. And while Disney's "Maleficent" probably doesn't qualify as a disaster, there are some problems that need some serious fixing with less than a year to go until its release.

THR reports that "The Blind Side" writer/director and one of the pens behind "Snow White and the Huntsman," John Lee Hancock, has been brought in to write a new opening for next summer's fairy tale blockbuster "Maleficent" and oversee the filming of those scenes. "He's not directing. He wrote pages and I hired a first-time director and it's good to have him on set," producer Joe Roth clarified, adding, "The movie is gorgeous to look at and the last 75 minutes are really entertaining."

This sounds almost like the opposite version of comments made in the summer of 2012 when problems with "World War Z" started being made public, with one source telling the trade at the time, “It’s a great first 45 minutes, maybe even an hour.” But the rest, not so much ...

But if there is any lesson to be learned from "World War Z," it's that problems can be fixed and general audiences usually don't pay attention to this kind of stuff, so it's likely Disney isn't too worried. And considering they recently moved the release date forward for the film—it will now open on May 30, 2014 instead of July 2, 2014—and that veteran production designer/first time director Robert Stromberg is still at the helm, it looks like everyone is confident this hurdle can be overcome.

And in the end? It's only eight days of reshoots, which is hardly monumental, and they don't even involve the film's star, Angelina Jolie. So hopefully this is simply a case of move-along, nothing-to-see-here problem solving.

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2 Comments

  • Sean | October 27, 2013 12:32 AMReply

    @Kevin Jagernauth Considering that Joe Roth said that the last 75 minutes(1 hour and 15 minutes) are really entertaining, does that mean that Maleficent's approximate running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes ?

  • Gi | October 10, 2013 7:00 PMReply

    Ella Purnell has quietly replaced India Eisley as the teenaged Maleficent. Eisley more strongly resembles Angelina but Purnell is the more experienced actress. The studio decided to reshoot the younger Maleficent's scenes with Purnell taking over the role. Purnell was most recently seen in Kick-Ass 2. Another actress, Isobelle Molloy, plays the pre-teen Maleficent.

    The inevitable conclusion is that upon review, Eisley's performance was found wanting, and arrayed against an impressive assemblage of dramatic talent, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Its a sad development for her but a big break for Purnell.

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