Seventeen-year-old British actress Ella Purnell has replaced India Eisley as a younger version of Angelina Jolie‘s title character in “Maleficent,” according to an individual familiar with the Disney project.
The live-action fantasy film stars Jolie as Disney’s ultimate villainess. Story explores Maleficent’s origins and what led her to curse Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) in Disney’s animated classic “Sleeping Beauty.”
The casting switch, first noticed on IMDb by UpAndComers.net, a result of the recent reshoots that took place over eight days and addressed the opening of the film, which establishes young Maleficent’s role in the hierarchy of a peaceful forest kingdom.
Veteran production designer Robert Stromberg made his directorial debut with the film, though Disney turned to its “Saving Mr. Banks” filmmaker John Lee Hancock to be on set for the reshoots, as he helped write new pages of the big-budget tentpole’s script.
The movie, which was originally shot last summer, co-stars Sharlto Copley, Brenton Thwaites, Sam Riley and Juno Temple.
Disney is scheduled to release “Maleficent” on May 30, 2014, the same day Universal releases Seth MacFarlane’s Western comedy “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” which is his follow-up to “Ted.”
Purnell, who recently co-starred alongside Chloe Moretz in “Kick-Ass 2,” previously played a younger version of Keira Knightley’s character in Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go.” She’s repped by UTA and Curtis Brown Group.