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Saving Mr. Banks helmer John Lee Hancock is going to help rescue another iconic Disney character. Hancock has been brought in to assist first-time director Robert Stromberg in shooting new scenes for Maleficent, intended to strengthen the opening of the film.

While it’s not uncommon for big-budget studio productions like this one to go in for reshoots, it is a bit unusual for a studio to bring in another director to help film new material. Hit the jump for the latest updates on the project.

Update: The header image is now the new logo for Malificent which was found via a Spanish blog.

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In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.

And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.

After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.

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One of the most intirguing aspects of Sam Raimi‘s Oz: The Great and Powerful has been its eye-popping aesthetic. Earlier posters and the trailer were filled with dazzling color and lush landscapes — which, okay, were more than a little reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, thanks to the involvement of production designer Robert Stromberg. But the visuals weren’t really the big problem with that movie.

The latest poster retains the same fairy tale feel, but then cranks it up way, way too high. There’s a little bit of everything here, from flying monkeys to teapot houses and a fat, happy munchkin, but the slapdash way they’re thrown together makes the poster makes it look less like a professional piece of work than a slapdash collage assembled by a hyperactive kid emulating Lisa Frank. See it for yourself after the jump.

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First Image of Angelina Jolie as ‘Maleficent’

Disney’s live-action exploration of the hidden life of Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent has been on the docket for some time, but it seemed like a film that might never get made. That changed when Angelina Jolie‘s schedule opened up and she committed to the role in a serious way. (Thank her kids for that commitment, or don’t, depending on how you feel about the film.) Robert Stromberg is directing, and the film is under way now at Pinewood studios in London. (They were setting up when I was there to see some of Skyfall, but we couldn’t catch a glimpse of anything special.)

Now we’ve got the first image of Jolie in costume as the evil character, and a few new details thanks to a press release from Disney. Read More »

Juno Temple Boards Disney’s ‘Maleficent’

As the pieces fall into place for a summer start, Disney’s Maleficent is rounding out its cast with one more talented Brit actor. Juno Temple has just boarded the live-action project, which retells the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale from the perspective of its villainess (played by Angelina Jolie). Sharlto Copley and Elle Fanning also have key roles. Hit the jump for further details.

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Sharlto Copley in Talks for ‘Maleficent’

Forget Demián Bichir – this week belongs to Sharlto Copley. Just a couple of days ago, the District 9 star was confirmed as the villain in Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake, even as he was packing his bags to shoot Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s dark thriller Open Grave in Hungary. Today, Copley’s has entered talks for Disney’s live-action Sleeping Beauty retelling Maleficent, which stars Angelina Jolie in the title role. More details after the jump.

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After a very long development period, the Sleeping Beauty retelling Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie as the fairy tale’s evil queen, is finally getting rolling. Robert Stromberg was set to direct not long ago, and with a script in hand, a star who wants to make the picture now, and a director ready to go, the Disney project needed just one thing: someone to be Sleeping Beauty.

Now it looks like Elle Fanning could take that role. Read More »

Disney’s Maleficent may have lost Tim Burton as director last year but Angelina Jolie, long attached to star as the wicked witch introduced in Snow White, isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the actress says the film is next after her promo run ends for her directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey. Read More »

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