Sharlto Copley Signs Up For Maleficent

Disney’s new take on Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent has been in development for over two years.  It’s passed through a number of directors including David O. Russell and Tim Burton before finally settling with Robert Stromberg.  Angelina Jolie is still the first choice to take the lead role of the titular dark fairy with Elle Fanning rumoured for Princess Aurora but now we have news that Sharlto Copley is in negotiations.  Busy week for him then.

He’ll be playing Aurora’s father King Stefan who falls under Maleficent’s sleeping spell in the original version. Presumably his role’s going to be expanded as surely they wouldn’t hire him just to wear a crown and have a bit of a snooze (which would clearly be the best job ever).

Stromberg knows his way around aesthetics, having worked as a production designer for Avatar and Alice In Wonderlandso it’s likely the film will have quite a strong visual appeal.  He’ll be working from a script by Linda Woolverton (who also penned Alice, The Lion King and Beauty And The Beast – which has its 3D rerelease this today).

Stromberg’s looking to start filming next month in England with a scheduled March 2014 release date.