Production has begun on the sequel to smash hit Maleficent, with Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie reprising their roles as Sleeping Beauty and her conflicted surrogate mother, Disney announced on May 29. The movie is being filmed at Pinewood Studios, near London and in locations around Britain.

“It’s bring your mum to work day on the Maleficent 2 set,” 20-year-old Fanning joked in an Instagram post that had been shared a quarter of a million times within an hour.

Alongside the message, she posted a picture of her in front of a laughing Jolie, who was in the famous Maleficent horns, as well as a pair of sunglasses and a towelling bathrobe.

Maleficent, a modern retelling of the life of Sleeping Beauty’s arch-nemesis, cast an instant spell on audiences in 2014, debuting at the top of the North American box-office and going on to gross more than US$750 million worldwide.

Joining Fanning and Jolie for the latest adventure are Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Disney also confirmed that acclaimed British actor Robert Lindsay would be among the newcomers, while Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville return from the original film.

In the sequel, directed by Joachim Ronning (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), Disney’s most notorious villain continues to explore her complex relationship with Princess Aurora, the soon to be queen, as they form alliances against new adversaries.

Fan reaction on social media was mostly positive, with much of the excitement being generated over the addition of Michelle Pfeiffer to the cast.

Disney began scouring its back catalogue in the 1990s for animated classics that it could turn into live-action remakes, a strategy that has so far netted several billion dollars.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King are all due for release in 2019. The Little Mermaid will see Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton collaborating with legendary Disney composer Alan Menken.

Two remakes of Peter Pan are in the works, along with new versions of Fantasia, Pinocchio, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, and The Sword In The Stone. – AFP