Disney has enjoyed taking beloved villains and enhancing their backstories via new remakes. Case in point, the release this week of “Cruella,” an origin story on the infamous puppy-stealing baddie from Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.” But the question audiences have been asking is, which villain will get an origin story next?
Well, if “Cruella” leading lady Emma Stone has any say, she’s hoping it’ll be the Sea Witch, Ursula, from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” The response came via a recent interview with Stone at Variety. “She’s an octopus and the world you would get to live in, like Ursula’s parents and what happened there,” Stone said. “You’ve never really seen a non-human Disney villain be explored in that way.”
Ursula will be seeing the remake treatment in some form. Actress Melissa McCarthy is set to play the character in a live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” to be directed by Rob Marshall. It’s unknown, however, if any additional backstory would be added to her character.
The look at Cruella’s backstory has certainly received mixed reviews from critics. IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote in her B- review that, “‘Cruella’ ends with both a definitive answer to ‘Hey, what made Cruella this way?’ and a kind of hedging that seems destined to both rework the Disney canon (the answer is, of course, not ‘she’s a nut who wants to kill dogs!’) and leave open room for more films.”
Conversely, Paul Walter Hauser, who plays Horace in the film, has been frank about his views on those critiquing the feature. In a recent interview with Insider, the actor said, “If you feel you hated two things, but we did these five other things great, then you can’t tell people not to see the movie. That’s ridiculous. It’s like me telling you not to eat at a restaurant because I didn’t like the toilet paper in the bathroom and my waiter was unattractive. You would be like, ‘Um, how was the chicken?’ So that’s my whole take on film criticism.”
Finally, he said that people have misunderstood the tone of the movie. “People getting riled up that it’s an edgy and dark movie: No, it’s not. You’re not watching dogs getting made into coats. It’s an action-adventure-crime-comedy movie with a lot of heart and if you don’t like Emma Stone and Emma Thompson you should probably get your pulse checked,” he said.
“Cruella” is out in theaters and available to rent via Disney+ Premier Access.