More Live-Action Fairytales: Angelina Jolie in Sleeping Beauty Movie Maleficent, Saoirse Ronan in Order of the Seven
02.14.12 by Ryan
Move over vampires and zombies, the age of the live-action fairytale has taken over as Hollywood's latest obsession. Two live action Snow White movies are set to to arrive this year — Universal Studios' Snow White and the Huntsman and Relativity Media's Mirror, Mirror. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is set to spoof the Brothers Grimm tale early next year after being delayed from March until January 2013. Now Disney, which started the trend with 2010's blockbuster Alice in Wonderland, is developing a life-action version of Sleeping Beauty titled Maleficent and yet another riff on Snow White.
Maleficient will focus on the Disney villainess as the lead character and has had Angelina Jolie attached to play the role since 2009. While Jolie was reportedly set to start work on an untitled thriller with director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita, The Professional) in April, it looks like that will have to wait for Maleficient. "I haven't acted in two years [since 2010's The Tourist], and I haven't done anything else since this [directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey]. The next thing I am looking at is a Disney movie," Jolie told THR.
Maleficent was written by Linda Woolverton (Alice in Wonderland), and, according to THR's report, Jolie "adores" her "revisionist take" on the material and the complex relationships between the characters. Jolie also said that she is eager to do a movie for her kids.
The best thing to find that balance is to do something that is just for children. You know, you find different ways to make things matter. When, for example, you do fun action movies, they are empowering for my daughters.
While there was no start date mentioned for Maleficent, it is assumed that it will begin sometime around when Besson's untitled thriller was scheduled, therefore making it impossible for her to do both. Production designer Robert Stromberg (Alice in Wonderland, Avatar) was hired to direct the movie last month.
Jolie isn't the only actress Disney has hired for a live-action role of one of their popular animated movies. Variety reports that Saoirse Ronan, who last portrayed a teenage assassin in last year's Hanna, will have to continue her fight training for a Kung Fu retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs titled Order of the Seven.
Disney first began developing the project a decade ago, and has mostly developed the story as an action adventure movie with little to no resemblance to the fairytale, though it's still easy to see where the story found its inspiration. According to the report, Ronan is in final talks for the role of
Snow White Olivia Sinclair, a British expatriate in 19th century Hong Kong, who aids a centuries-old group of dwarves warriors in reclaiming their destiny after an evil witch empress reemerges.
Commercial director and visual effects supervisor Michael Gracey will make his directorial debut on Order of the Seven, which was mostly recently written by Jayson Rothwell (Malice in Wonderland) and Michael DeBruyn, who took over for initial writers Michael Chabon (John Carter) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). No other casting decision have been made, but it is expected that Disney will hire well-known stars from China, Russia, Japan and other international territories to help give the
dwarves warriors a more global feel. Production is scheduled to start this fall.