Ella Purnell Replacing India Eisley as Teenage Angelina Jolie in Disney’s “Maleficent”

October 17, 2013 | Posted By In Casting | 4910 Views


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Maleficent Up and coming British actress Ella Purnell (pictured left), 17, has replaced India Eisley (right), 19, as a teenage “Maleficent” in Disney’s live-action remake of “Sleeping Beauty”.

Unlike the original 1959 animated classic, “Maleficent” will be presented from the perspective of the famous villain herself. According the film’s official synopsis, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) will be introduced as a young pure-hearted woman living in a peaceful forest kingdom. When an army invades the land, she rises as the kingdom’s protector. However, after she suffers a major betrayal, her heart is turned into stone. Now a vengeful woman, Maleficent declares battle against the king’s successor and curses his newborn daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning).

Purnell joins an all-star cast with Jolie, Fanning, Brenton Thwaites, Peter Capaldi, Sharlto Copley, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, Miranda Richardson, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton.

“Maleficent” was originally shot back in the summer of 2012. However, it was announced last week in a report by The Hollywood Reporter that plans are underway to reshoot the film’s opening scenes over the course of eight days. “Saving Mr. Banks” director John Lee Hancock has been recruited to help oversee the reshoots by the film’s first-time director, Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg.

“We asked him to be on set,” producer Joe Roth told The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s not directing. He wrote pages, and I hired a first-time director, and it’s good to have him on set.” He also assured that it wouldn’t taint the film in any way. “The movie is gorgeous to look at, and the last 75 minutes are really entertaining,” he added.

Considering that Jolie is not required to attend the reshoots and Eisley’s IMDb credit has already been replaced with Purnell, it’s safe to assume that problems arose from what was originally filmed of the origin scenes. Despite these production changes, “Maleficent” is still set for a May 30, 2014 release date.

Purnell made her acting debut as a younger version of Keira Knightley’s Ruth in Mark Romanek’s 2010 sci-fi drama “Never Let Me Go.” Most recently, she had a supporting role playing Dolce, a mean girl who rivals Chloe Moretz in Jeff Wadlow’s action blockbuster “Kick-Ass 2.” Next up, Purnell takes the leading role as a troubled teen in Frank Hall Green’s “WildLike”, alongside Ann Dowd and Nolan Gerard Funk.


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Alfonso Espina is a Toronto-based freelance writer and graduate of the Journalism program at Ryerson University. He has written for The Huffington Post, Tribute Magazine, Next Projection, Pop Wrapped, MuchMusic, Flicks And The City, and Screen Invasion.