Saving Mr. Banks Director Being Brought In To Write New Scenes For Maleficent

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-10-10 14:43:11discussion comments
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Prior to it hitting theaters this past summer, the Brad Pitt zombie epic World War Z went through an extremely rough production process. After months of filming, it was decided that the third act they were making wasn't going to work as proper conclusion to the movie, and as a result the studio wound up hiring Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard and Prometheus' Damon Lindeof to rewrite the end of the script. In the aftermath, these alterations seemed to have worked in the film's favor, as when the final cut was released it was both a box office hit and a modest critical success. The film made bringing in a new writer at the last minute actually seem like a workable idea, and now Disney is pulling a similar strategy with the upcoming live-action movie Maleficent.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has made a deal with filmmaker John Lee Hancock to write a few new scenes for the fantasy film, which is a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story from the perspective of the titular evil witch. The Blind Side director will also be on set during the reshoots, which are about to start up soon, and will be "overseeing" the work being done by first-time director Robert Stromberg. Said producer Joe Roth about the hiring,
"We asked him to be on set. He's not directing. He wrote pages, and I hired a first-time director, and it's good to have him on set."

Elaborating on the work that is to be done, Roth explained that the "last 75 minutes are really entertaining" and that the movie as a whole is "gorgeous to look at" (not to surprising given Stromberg's history as a production designer), but that issues remain in the opening of the story. The production will be taking an extra eight days on set in London, but Angelina Jolie will not be involved. Instead, the Academy Award winning actress is busy filming her sophomore directorial effort, Unbroken, down in Australia. The trade doesn't specify who among the cast will be involved in the reshoots, but the supporting cast does include some notable names, including Elle Fanning, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson and Juno Temple.

Hancock's hiring isn't too surprising when you consider what his latest movie is. The filmmaker has been working with Disney for the last couple years on the upcoming dramedy/biopic Saving Mr. Banks, which features Tom Hanks portraying studio founder Walt Disney. Given that film's December release date it's expected to be a contender during this year's Oscar season, which could explain why there's enough confidence in Hancock to hire him for Maleficent, which is scheduled to be in theaters on May 20, 2014. You can watch the first trailer for Saving Mr, Banks below.


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