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Work on the film began June 13, the Walt Disney Studios announced Tuesday. The studio also released the first image of Miss Jolie in character, wearing a dark headdress and dramatic makeup.

“Maleficent” tells the beloved “Sleeping Beauty” fairy tale from the perspective of Aurora’s evil nemesis, revealing the back story that led her to curse the girl as a baby. And it’ll probably look pretty spectacular: “Maleficent” marks the directing debut of longtime visual effects and production designer Robert Stromberg, a two-time Oscar winner for “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

The film is scheduled for release on March 14, 2014.

Jackman to host free short-film fest in NYC

Hugh Jackman wants anyone with a cellphone to get a chance to break in to show business.

The actor is hosting New York’s first installment of Tropfest, billed as the world’s largest short-film festival. It’s free and open to the public.

“Forget it, [if] you’ve got a mobile phone, you can make a film, you can enter,” Mr. Jackman said. “It’s a great way for me to support the arts and anybody who wants to can get involved.”

A panel of celebrity judges including Rose Byrne, Judah Friedlander and Jennifer Westfeldt will pick best film, actor and actress on Saturday in Bryant Park.

The films showcased at Tropfest may be short (they must all be under seven minutes) but they’ve led to some impressive success stories. The idea for the FX series “Wilfred” starring Elijah Wood came from Tropfest. Sam Worthington of “Avatar” won Best Actor in 2000.

The entries have been narrowed down to eight finalists — each required to include a Tropfest Signature Item. (The required item for New York’s first Tropfest? A bagel.)

Tropfest, the brainchild of director John Polson, started 20 years ago in Australia and now draws more than 150,000 attendees each year. The winner for best film gets $20,000 from the Motion Picture Association and a week of meetings with studio execs, agents and managers.

Johnny Depp, girlfriend end 14-year relationship

Longtime Hollywood couple Johnny Depp and French singer-actress Vanessa Paradis have agreed to separate “amicably,” a publicist for the star said Tuesday.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star and Gallic actress have been together for 14 years, but rumors of trouble have circulated for more than a year, leading to Miss Paradis denying a split in January.

“Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis have amicably separated. Please respect their privacy and, more importantly, the privacy of their children,” Mr. Depp’s publicist told “Entertainment Tonight,” and confirmed to Agence France-Presse.

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