Tim Burton has departed the forthcoming Disney fantasy Maleficent, which would have seen him direct Angelina Jolie.

The in development project is a live action version of the Sleeping Beauty story, told from the point of view of the evil witch. Disney has long since named the witch as Maleficent, who threatened to kill the princess before transforming into a dragon. Jolie is in the frame to play the lead.

Malificent seemed tailor made for Burton, who has made a career out of dark, twisted fairy tales. Burton had only been tentatively attached to the project, yet his involvement had been enough to spur Disney into hiring his Alice In Wonderland collaborator Linda Woolverton to write the script.

The current frontrunner to take the helm is David Yates, who directed the last handful of Harry Potter movies.

Burton will continue to work with Disney, however. He is currently working on a full-length stop-motion version of his 1984 short Frankenweenie.