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Hot Teaser: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 2:47pm PST

Here’s a longer look at Angelina Jolie and those wicked cheekbones in Disney‘s Maleficent, which tells the classic Sleeping Beauty tale from the evil sorceress’ POV. Elle Fanning stars as the snoozing princess opposite Jolie in the VFX-heavy live-actioner helmed by production designer-turned-director Robert Stromberg. This promo vid, which aired on Disney Channel, blends scenes from Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty with the May 30 3D release:
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CANNES: Competition Underway With Double Bill Of Tilda Swinton & Gus Van Sant

Pete Hammond

After a fun opening night living vicariously through Woody Allen’s Paris, the Cannes official competition and sales market really got down to business Thursday. And how’s this for a good time? The fest started the competitive entries with a double bill of downer flicks directed by two very smart women. Unfortunately, only one of them worked.

First up was the dreadful Sleeping Beauty, an Australian drama revolving around a girl, played by Emily Browning, who subjects herself to such degrading inhuman sexual acts we can’t even go into it here. As she is induced into a coma-like state a number of eighty-something men have their way with her. Fun, huh? The really stunning thing is that rare Palme D’Or winning woman, Jane Campion (The Piano), is lending her name to this dreary exercise from first-timer Julia Leigh.

It could only go up from there and it did — waaaaay up — at the 8:30 AM Thursday morning press screening for Lynne Ramsey’s extraordinary We Need To Talk About Kevin, starring the ever-remarkable Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly as parents dealing with tragic circumstances caused by their out-of-control son. It is a most impressive acting and directorial feat that gives the festival its first genuine awards contender, and if it can secure domestic distribution (may distribs such as Sony Pictures Classics and Lionsgate were seen entering the early AM screening), the Oscar-winning Swinton could once again find herself in the Academy race next year and definitely for a prize here on May 22. Read More »

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‘True Grit’ Teen Hailee Steinfeld Attached To ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Spec Script

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld is attached to Sleeping Beauty, a spec package that is going out to buyers as we speak. Screenwriter Lindsay Devlin has written a revisionist take on the fairy tale that will give Steinfeld a lot more to do than nap while waiting for a charming prince’s peck to awaken her from a witch’s curse. The new version is told from her point of view as she enters the dream world and has to find her way out.

Hollywood has been absolutely smitten with fairy tales since the billion dollar grosser Alice in Wonderland. There is already a version of Sleeping Beauty at Disney called Maleficent, which is being scripted by Linda Woolverton, with Tim Burton attached and rumors that Angelina Jolie coveted for the title role of the witch. There is also Snow White and the Hunstman at Universal with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, and The Brothers Grimm: Snow White at Relativity with Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters at Paramount with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton; a revisionist take on Peter Pan with Channing Tatum at Sony Pictures; and Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, the Sam Raimi-directed film that will star James Franco.

The 14-year old Steinfeld was such a revelation in her Oscar-nominated True Grit turn that I’d be surprised if the Sleeping Beauty spec slumbers long. Her reps at ICM and the writers reps at APA are … Read More »

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Disney Teaching English To Schoolchildren

By | Wednesday July 7, 2010 @ 4:03am PDT

Disney Logo2The studio’s education arm, Disney English, plans to open in Brazil next. Disney English already runs 11 English-language schools in China, and plans to expand to 148 within five years. Several are based in Shanghai, where Disney is building its next theme park. It recently opened its first school in Beijing. Disney English plans to teach English to 150,000 children a year by 2105, according to the Financial Times.

English is taught using Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and The Little Mermaid. Oh, and those in charge are called “cast members” not teachers.

First, Disney worked to extend copyright law so that Mickey Mouse doesn’t fall into the public domain. Then it tried to trademark the Princess Aurora character from a common fairy-tale, Sleeping Beauty. Am I alone in finding the Mouse House inculcating its next generation of overseas consumers in this way vaguely disquieting? It means Disney is changing the way our children think even in school. It reminds me of that moment in Super Size Me when more kids recognise the flash card of Ronald McDonald than George Washington.

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