Director John Lee Hancock has been brought in to work on Maleficent, Disney’s big-budget live-action retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale that stars Angelina Jolie.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the movie is about to get a round of re-shoots and Hancock, who wrote and directed The Blind Side and wrote Snow White and the Huntsman, penned several new scenes to be shot. Hancock also will help oversee the re-shoots by the film’s director, Robert Stromberg, a production designer making his directorial debut on the $200 million-budgeted fantasy.
"We asked him to be on set," producer Joe Roth says of Hancock. "He's not directing. He wrote pages and I hired a first-time director and it's good to have him on set." Asked why a film of this magnitude was entrusted to a novice director, Roth notes that Stromberg won Oscars for production design on Alice in Wonderland and Avatar. "The movie is gorgeous to look at and the last 75 minutes are really entertaining," he says. The issue is the opening, which is being re-shot over eight days.
The new scenes do not involve Jolie, as the actress is in Australia prepping to direct her World War II drama Unbroken.
Maleficent began principal photography in June in London with a cast that includes Elle Fanning, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson and Juno Temple. Re-shoots are common on productions of this size but having another director come in to assist the original helmer is less common. Maleficent is scheduled for release on March 14, 2014.
Hancock is well-regarded on the Disney lot. He has Saving Mr. Banks, the studio’s drama about Walt Disney and Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, set for a Dec. 20 release. And he worked with Roth on Snow White and the Huntsman.