Jolie Aboard Zemeckis’ Beowulf

Daily Variety reports that Angelina Jolie has joined the cast of director/producer Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming animated adaptation of the classic Old English epic poem, Beowulf. The pic will employ Sony Pictures Imageworks’ performance capture technique employed in Zemeckis’ The Polar Express and next summer’s Monster House, which Zemeckis is exec producing with Steven Spielberg.

Crafted by an unknown sixth-century Anglo-Saxon scribe, Beowulf casts its title character as the one man who can defeat Grendel, a monster terrorizing a Danish kingdom, and his scaly, cave-dwelling mother.

In the film, Jolie will lend her voice and motion-captured performance to the role of the Queen of Darkness, a temptress who jeopardizes Beowulf’s quest to the throne. The cast also includes Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast), Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal), Brendan Gleeson (Troy) and Robin Wright Penn (The Princess Bride). Beowulf will be Jolie’s follow-up to the Robert DeNiro-directed Universal feature, The Good Shepherd, co-starring Matt Damon.

Scripted by Roger Avary (Silent Hill, Pulp Fiction) and Neil Gaiman (MirrorMask, Coraline) Sony’s Beowulf is one of two adaptations in the works. Archlight films’ live-action version, titled Beowulf and Grendel, is nearing completion and stars Gerard Butler (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, Reign of Fire) as the celebrated monster slayer. The timeless story has also been animated for the small screen with HBO’s 1998 TV special, Animated Epics: Beowulf, produced by Christmas Films, HBO and Right Angle.

Zemeckis and his Imagemovers partners are negotiating distribution deals with Paramount (domestic) and Warner Bros. (overseas).