After years of rumors and buzz, Disney’s live-action take on the Angelina Jolie-starring Maleficent is finally zipping along full steam ahead. THR reports (via Cinema Blend) that Elle Fanning is now set to star as Princess Aurora (best known to those not in the fairy tale know as Sleeping Beauty), along with a murderer’s row of the other prime cinematic talent. Fanning was rumored to be in talks back in March (thanks to a nifty exclusive over at Twitch), but it’s nice to get some confirmation on what’s really lovely casting. The outlet also appears to confirm that Sharlto Copley, who is going on a job-accepting tear, is set to co-star as “Stefan, the half-human, half-fairy bastard son of the human king.”
The rest of the cast will now include including Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville as Knotgrass and Flittle (two of three pixies who care for Princess Aurora), Miranda Richardson as fairy Queen Ulla (also Maleficent’s aunt, though she reportedly doesn’t like her so much), Sam Riley as Diaval (Maleficent’s “right-hand man who can transform into a raven”), and Kenneth Cranham as the human king looking to rule the fairy kingdom as well.
While this casting is all well and good, we appear to be missing a vital role – the handsome prince!
The traditional Sleeping Beauty tale centers on beautiful Princess Aurora, a long wished-for princess who is cursed at her christening by the evil Maleficent, who declares that before sunset on Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Shocked and terrified, Aurora’s parents let her be whisked away by fairies (now pixies) to be hidden and protected from all evil (and spinning wheels). Of course, that plan doesn’t go off accordingly, and Aurora eventually pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep – a sleep that can only end when she’s kissed by her true love. You know, a handsome prince! It’s a good deal more complicated than that, but the role of handsome prince guy is pretty vital to the story, so either Disney is still looking for the right guy, or Maleficent will take a truly revisionist take on the tale.
Maleficent is being billed as telling the story from Maleficent’s perspective and focusing on the events that led to Maleficent cursing Aurora (prequel?), so who knows what tweaks and changes have been made. And while it would be nice if Aurora could just wake herself up, that would prove to be a twist that we haven’t heard about yet (and, hell, maybe she won’t even doze off in the film). We’ll just have to wait and see if a handsome prince (fine, his name is Prince Phillip) gets cast any time soon – if not, well, that means that Disney has something truly different in store for audiences.
The film had been chattered about since 2009, always with Jolie attached to the starring role, but when the film finally got a director (Robert Stromberg in his feature debut) in January, it looked like the project was actually going to come to fruition. The film currently has a release date of March 14, 2014 set.