Disney’s current focus on live-action updates of its animated classics continues apace, with the news that Cruella – a new movie inspired by classic toon 101 Dalmatians – has started filming. And now, thanks to the Walt Disney Studios slate presentation at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, we have our first look at the film’s star Emma Stone in character as the titular puppy-hating fashionista.
The film will focus on the villain of Disney’s beloved 1961 animation, Cruella de Vil, presumably in much the same way as the Sleeping Beauty-inspired Maleficent focused on Angelina Jolie’s evil sorceress. Having been attached to the project for a long time, Oscar-winner Stone is finally settling into the leading role as the fur-loving fashion queen who strikes fear into the heart of doggies everywhere.
Stone is definitely serving up some attitude in the first image (above), in which she’s flanked by I, Tonya‘s Paul Walter Hauser and Game Of Thrones‘ Joel Fry as henchmen Horace and Jasper respectively. The film also stars Emma Thompson and is directed by Craig Gillespie (who’s previously helmed critically acclaimed ice-skater biopic I, Tonya and Ryan Gosling-starring sex-doll dramedy Lars And The Real Girl).
This version is being pitched as an ’80s-set origin story with punk-rock stylings, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Risky? Sure. But since Glenn Close has already played de Vil in 1996’s live-action 101 Dalmatians and its sequel (the imaginatively titled 102 Dalmatians), a radical new take on the character is probably a good idea. Probably.
The project has been on Disney’s slate for a while but hit a snag when original director Alex Timbers (a Broadway stalwart and one of the creators of Amazon series Mozart In The Jungle) had to drop out because of scheduling issues. It figures Disney wants to build on the momentum for its big-screen reimaginings, though – so far this summer, both Aladdin and The Lion King have made over $1 billion at the box office.
Cruella is due to hit cinemas on 28 May 2021, and you can check out all the Disney remakes heading your way here.