Disney found blockbuster success in 2014 by telling the origin story of “Sleeping Beauty” villain Maleficent (the Angelina Jolie-starring tentpole grossed $758 million worldwide and led to an underperforming 2019 sequel), and now the Mouse House is hoping to have similar luck with “Cruella,” a deep dive into the younger days of the iconic “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” villain Cruella de Vil. In a big win for Disney, Oscar winner Emma Stone is playing the baddie in a story set within the 1970s London punk scene.
Disney’s synopsis for “Cruella” reads: “In 1970s London, young fashion designer Estella de Vil becomes obsessed with dogs’ skins, especially Dalmatians, until she eventually becomes a ruthless and terrifying legend known as Cruella.”
“Cruella” is directed by Craig Gillespie in his follow-up project to “I, Tonya,” which won Allison Janney the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. “I, Tonya” also picked up Oscar nominations for Best Actress (Margot Robbie) and Best Film Editing, in addition to grossing $53 million worldwide on an $11 million production budget. Like many indie filmmakers, Gillespie turned his indie film success into a Disney tentpole directing gig. The filmmaker last worked with Disney on two projects: “The Finest Hours” and “Million Dollar Arm,” although neither title found great box office success.
Joining Stone in the “Cruella” ensemble cast is Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser (reuniting with Gillespie after “I, Tonya), Emily Beecham, and Mark Strong. Stone’s Oscar-nominated “The Favourite” screenwriter Tony McNamara co-wrote the “Cruella” script with Dana Fox from a story worked on by “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Venom” screenwriter Kelly Marcel, and “Togetherness” star Steve Zissis. Glenn Close, who played Cruella de Vil in Disney’s 1996 live-action remake of “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” serves as an executive producer on “Cruella.”
“Cruella” is currently scheduled to open in theaters May 28 via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The release date could change because of the pandemic, but for now the movie remains dated for the 2021 summer movie season. Other Disney titles set for summer release at this time include Marvel Cinematic Universe entry “Black Widow.” Watch the trailer for the movie in the video below.