Director Robert Stromberg just took a major step forward in assembling his cast for Disney’s live-action fantasy Maleficent. Angelina Jolie is already set as the titular lead in this retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale from the villain’s point of view, and we recently learned that District 9 star Sharlto Copley had joined the cast as the male lead. Now it appears that Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Kenneth Cranham (Hot Fuzz), Sam Riley (On the Road), and Lesley Manville (Another Year) have been added to the roster. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: Variety adds that India Eisley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) will play a younger version of Jolie's character in the opening sequence of the film.]
Per Heat Vision, Staunton and Manville will be playing Knotgrass and Flittle, respectively, “two of the three pixies that end up taking care of Aurora.” Speaking of Aurora, we had heard that Elle Fanning was in talks for the role, but the previous Maleficent casting story left her name out. Heat Vision’s report notes that Fanning is already onboard the project, so it appears her deal may have worked out after all.
Richardson will be playing Queen Ulla, “a Fairy Queen who is Maleficent’s aunt with a dislike of her niece,” Cranham will play the human king who plots to conquer the fairy kingdom, and Riley will portray Diaval, “a raven who changes into human form and is Maleficent’s right hand.” The report also has details on Copley’s role, as it states that he’ll be playing Stefan, “the half-human, half-fairy bastard son of the human king.”
Though Staunton and Richardson are probably best known to general audiences for their work in the Harry Potter franchise (Staunton as Professor Umbridge and Richardson as Rita Skeeter), they’re both incredibly talented actresses with a bevy of awards under their belt, including three Oscar nominations between the two of them. It’s clear that Stromberg is assembling a British-leaning cast with stellar resumes, bringing to mind the impeccable casting of the aforementioned Harry Potter series. Production begins next month in London, and Maleficent is slated to open on March 14th, 2014.