Last week, the upcoming live-action Sleeping Beauty prequel-of-sorts Maleficent finally cast someone else besides Angelina Jolie, as Sharlto Copley joined the cast as Stefan. While casting is still said to be underway for who will win the heart of Jolie’s titular lead, we still have the rumor floating that Elle Fanning will be playing Princess Aurora, who is the main character of Sleeping Beauty itself. Now, not only has one actress been confirmed for the upcoming film, but five others follow as the cast greatly expands with production looming.
THR reports that Fanning has been confirmed as Aurora, while Kenneth Cranham, Lesley Manville, Miranda Richardson, Sam Riley and Imelda Staunton all join alongside her. Staunton and Richardson previously collaborated on the Harry Potterfilms, while the casting confirmations come with brand new plot details that diminish previous reports.
“Staunton and Manville are playing Knotgrass and Flittle, respectively, two of the three pixies who end up taking care of Aurora. Richardson will play Queen Ulla, a fairy queen who is Maleficent’s aunt — and dislikes her niece. Cranham will play the human king who plots to conquer the fairy kingdom, and Riley takes the role of Diaval, a raven who changes into human form and is Maleficent’s right hand.”
Previous rumors had Judi Dench and Emma Thompson offered the role of Flittle, while Diaval was said to be between Jim Sturgess and Gael Garcia Bernal. Copley’s character is described as “the half-human, half fairy bastard son of the human king”, meaning previous intel that Stefan was actually Aurora’s kingly father may or may not be proven true. It’s not clear what exactly caused the bigger names to fall through for the smaller ones, but obviously the main trio of Jolie, Copley, and Fanning will be the biggest draw of the feature.
The role of Diaval was said to play a bird who was transformed into a human male and becomes Maleficent’s lover. That’s still a possibility as well, though the species of raven is far more sinister than originally revealed. Cranham’s role sounds very much tight under wraps, and could easily play into the more central aspects of the story, including why Maleficent may attack Aurora in the classic fairy tale.
Production is currently scheduled to start on Memorial Day weekend.The script comes from Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast), while produced by Joe Roth. Director Robert Stromberg, Woolverton, and Roth all worked together on 2010′s Disney/Tim Burton live-action Alice in Wonderland, with Stromberg also a production designer for that film as well, while the other two resumed their same roles here.
Maleficent is slated for a March 14th, 2014 release.