Talented young actress Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota Fanning, has been cast in Disney’s new live action version of Sleeping Beauty. Fanning, who will turn fourteen on the 9th of April 2012, will play Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) in Maleficent; a retelling of the fairy tale from the point of view of the evil witch, who will be played by Angelina Jolie.

The younger of the Fanning sisters shot to fame with her roles in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and, more recently, J.J. Abrams’s pre-teen alien film Super 8. She has been performing since she was two years old; her first role was as the younger version of her sister Dakota’s character in I Am Sam in 2001. It looks as though Elle will be stepping even further out of her sister’s shadow with her starring role in Maleficent.

The film follows in the footsteps of the musical Wicked, which tells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the point of view of the Wicked Witch. Many will remember Maleficent as one of the most spine-chillingly evil Disney characters of their childhood. In the original animated film, the witch was tall and elegant with green skin, devil horns, a long black cloak and a menacing magic staff. She also had a pet raven named Diablo, and spent most of her time cackling, turning up uninvited to other people’s parties and casting spells and curses on anyone within reach. The casting of Angelina Jolie as the ‘Mistress of all Evil’ seems inspired, and no doubt her performance will be compared to that of Charlize Theron, who plays the Evil Queen in this year’s Snow White and the Huntsman.

Both Tim Burton and David Yates (who directed the last four Harry Potter films) were in line to direct, but the task has now fallen to the Oscar-winning special effects maestro Robert Stromberg, who had a hand in Pirates of the Caribbean, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Avatar. It will be Stromberg’s first time directing a feature film, and as long as he is involved there is little doubt that Maleficent will be chock full of stunning CGI.

Maleficent is currently in pre-production and will be released in 2013.

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