EXCLUSIVE: Sharlto Copley is in negotiations to play the male lead opposite Angelina Jolie in Disney’s Maleficent. He will play King Stefan in the live-action film, which tells the backstory of Sleeping Beauty and why the evil fairy (played by Jolie) cursed Princess Aurora in the first place. The film is scheduled to come out March 14, 2014. The news comes on the heels of Copley joining Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s Open Grave and closing his deal to play the villain in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of Park Chan-wook 2003’s Korean revenge thriller. Copley, repped by WME, just finished work on District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium opposite Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
Robert Stromberg, the production designer on Avatar along with Disney’s Alice In Wonderland and Oz: The Great And Powerful is directing Maleficent. Linda Woolverton, whose work includes The Lion King and Alice In Wonderland, is writing the script. Joe Roth is producing.