Angelina Jolie is hoisted into the air by a crane during filming of the upcoming Disney movie 'Maleficent' in England on June 26, 2012. Credit: Charles Ruby/

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . . Angelina Jolie!

At Pinewood Studios outside London, shooting began in earnest two weeks ago for Maleficent -- in which Jolie, 37, plays the iconic Sleeping Beauty villainess.

But the Oscar winner really got back to her action heroine roots on Tuesday, when, in full costume (horns and flowing cloak), Brad Pitt's fiancee dramatically flew through the air with the help of a crane.

Starring opposite Elle Fanning as Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, Jolie isn't exactly playing a kindler, gentler Maleficent -- but the film, inspired by the animated Disney classic and the fairy tale, does strive to take a more nuanced look at how Maleficent became such a baddie.

"It's not anti-princess, but it's the first time they're looking at this epic woman [in a different way]," Jolie has said. "I hope in the end you see a woman who is capable of being many things, and just because she protects herself and is aggressive, it doesn't mean she can't have other [warmer] qualities. You have to figure out the puzzle of what she is."

A major bonus? Her six kids with Pitt, 48 "are very happy" about the part, she admitted.