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Jolie Joined by Fanning, Copley, Richardson, Staunton, Manville, Cranham, Riley & Eisley for Disney's 'Maleficent'

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by Sophia Savage
May 8, 2012 11:40 AM
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COURTESY OF GETTY Angelina Jolie

UPDATE: Joining Angelina Jolie (as the titular "Maleficent"), Elle Fanning (Princess Aurora), Sharlto Copley (Stefan, a half humna/half fairy bastard son of the King), Miranda Richardson (Queen Ulla, Maleficent's aunt), Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville (Knotgrass and Flittle, pixies that care for Aurora), Kenneth Cranham (the King) and Sam Riley (Diaval, a raven-human shapeshifter and Maleficent's right hand). India Eisley will play the younger version of Jolie's character. [THR/Variety]

EARLIER: Sharlto Copley ("District 9") is in negotiations to play King Stefan across from Angelina Jolie's title character in "Maleficent." Copley has recently bagged the villain role Spike Lee's "Oldboy" and a role in Gonzalo Lopex-Gallego's "Open Grave." The South African also stars with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in "District 9" director Neil Blomkamp's "Elysium" (March 2013).

Disney's long-gestating "Maleficent," shooting this June with Angelina Jolie and veteran production designer-turned-director Robert Stromberg (who won back-to-back Oscars for James Cameron's "Avatar" and Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland") will hit theaters March 14, 2014.  By that time, fairy tale nemeses Julia Roberts in "Mirror Mirror" and Charlize Theron in "Snow White and the Huntsman" (June 1) will be distant memories.

That's a long stretch with no Jolie on-screen. 2010's "The Tourist" marks her last time in front of studio cameras; she made her directorial debut with "In The Land of Blood and Honey," did voice work in "Kung Fu Panda 2" and appeared in last year's Jane Goodall doc "Jane's Journey"). Last month, Elle Fanning was reportedly  in talks to play Sleeping Beauty across from Jolie, but no further announcement has been made. Joe Roth is producing the script from Linda Woolverton ("Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," "Alice in Wonderland").

It also helps that Stromberg knows his way around visual effects, for which he was nominated for "Master and Commander." Disney describes Jolie's Maleficent as "Disney's ultimate villain," and adds: "The live-action film explores the origins of the evil fairy Maleficent and what led her to curse Princess Aurora in Disney’s animated classic 'Sleeping Beauty.'"

Carrie Rickey says in Angelina, Charlize and Julia: The Three Ages of Women that with news of Jolie playing "Maleficent" it's now official: "The three ages of a Hollywood actress are: Babe, Evil Queen and The Iron Lady."

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