First Look: Angelina Jolie’s ‘Maleficent’ begins production

After years of development, Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” has finally commenced production with two-time Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg in the director’s chair.

Jolie hasn’t been shy about her interest in playing the infamous Sleeping Beauty villain, and this version promises “the untold story” of the evil sorceress revealing “the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” It’s the latest fairy tale inspired project from producer Joe Roth, who was also behind the hits “Alice in Wonderland” for Disney and “Snow White and the Huntsman” for Universal.

Jolie’s co-stars include Sharlto Copley as the male lead, Elle Fanning as the young princess Aurora, Sam Riley as Maleficent’s right-hand man, Miranda Richardson as Maleficent’s nasty aunt, and Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville as the fairies who care for Aurora.

The behind the scenes team includes Oscar winning cinematographer Dean Semler (“Dances with Wolves” and Jolie’s directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey”) and makeup maestro Rick Baker (“Men in Black”), Oscar nominated costume designer Anna B. Sheppard (“Schindler”s List”), and production designer Gary Freeman (“Saving Private Ryan”).

“Alice in Wonderland” writer Linda Woolverton handled scripting duties, and executive producers are Jolie, Don Hahn, Matt Smith and Palak Patel.

Although directors including Brad Bird and Tim Burton circled the project, the gig ultimately landed with Stromberg, who won his Oscars back-to-back for “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Along with the announcement, Disney also unveiled a first look at Jolie in character:

“Maleficent” opens March 14, 2014.