Emma Stone and her “Cruella” director Craig Gillespie are laughing off the onslaught of “Joker” comparisons that took off on social media following the debut of the “Cruella” trailer last month. In the upcoming Disney release, Stone stars as a younger iteration of the infamous “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” villain. The film tracks Cruella’s corruption as she breaks bad, which is why it didn’t take long for social media users to brand the movie Disney’s answer to “Joker.” Stone tells Total Film magazine such comparisons should not be taken seriously.
Total Film’s “Cruella” interview reads: “‘It’s very different from “Joker” in many ways,’ Stone laughs over Zoom. However, while there are certainly differences between the two movies, Stone can see why thematic lines could be drawn between the two. ‘I would never even remotely compare myself to Joaquin Phoenix,’ she continues. ‘I wish I was more like him.'”
Gillespie told the publication that “Cruella” and “Joker” are similar only in the sense that, like Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” character Arthur Fleck, “there are some really deep, emotional things that [Emma Stone’s] Cruella is dealing with that send her to the villainous darker side.”
“It’s definitely its own thing,” the director said. “Just to sort of reframe Cruella, I thought it was important to show this darker side of her. But there’s going to be a lot of fun, a lot of humor in it. There’s a lot of absolutely delightful banter and rhythm to the style of it, which is different from ‘Joker.’”
“Joker” and “Cruella” may not be tonally similar, but Disney is surely hoping “Cruella” can make a profit like “Joker” did for Warner Bros. in 2019. “Joker” became the highest-grossing R-rated release in history with over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The film went on to earn 11 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and it won the Oscars for Best Actor and Best Original Score.
Disney recently announced it was shifting the “Cruella” release to a hybrid model in which the film will debut in theaters at the same time it becomes available to stream on Disney+. Similar to past hybrid Disney releases “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Cruella” will stream on Disney+ under the Premier Access banner, meaning subscribers will have to pay an additional $29.99 to watch the film. Disney is utilizing the same strategy for its other summer tentpole, Marvel’s “Black Widow.”
“Cruella” opens in theaters and streaming on Disney+ beginning May 28.