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The Angelina Jolie-starring Maleficent, which tells the story of Sleeping Beauty with a focus on the wicked queen, is gearing up for production in advance of its March 14, 2014 release, but casting has been remarkably slow. Last week Sharlto Copley entered talks to play the King, and there had been rumors that Elle Fanning might play the sleeping Princess Aurora, but that was pretty much it.
Now, in what looks like a big burst of activity, a huge portion of the cast has been filled out. THR reports that a ton of British actors are joining the proaction, including Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville as pixies who take care of Princess Aurora, Miranda Richardson as the fairy Queen Ulla who is also Maleficent's aunt, Sam Riley as Maleficent's right-hand man who can transform into a raven, and Kenneth Cranham as the human king aiming to conquer the fairy kingdom. The report also confirms that Fanning will indeed play Aurora, and clarifies that Copley won't be playing a human king, but a half-human, half-fairy bastard son of the king.
That's a whole lot of talent for one movie, and Maleficent could probably use it-- the director is Robert Stromberg, who had worked as a production designer on films like Alice in Wonderland and Avatar before making his directorial debut here. Obviously with Jolie in the lead role the movie will be a force to be reckoned with, but having so many skilled actors-- particularly Mike Leigh veterans Staunton and Maville-- in the supporting roles can only boost its cred.
Now that we have Elle Fanning confirmed as Aurora, are you ready to see her go toe to toe with Jolie? Or do you suspect as I do that, no matter how talented the younger Fanning sister is, she'll be demolished by a screen presence by Jolie? It might not be a fair matchup, but it's one I'm eager to see regardless.