Whether or not we needed an origin story for Cruella de Vil, the iconic, wiry villainess of One Hundred and One Dalmations, is to be determined. But with the first trailer for Cruella, Disney’s new film shedding light on the titular tyrant’s younger years, we’re certainly getting one that goes all out.
Emma Stone stars as the fashionable and ruthless de Vil, not quite “Cruella” yet, but Estella, a young and ambitious fashion designer coming up in the world during London’s punk days of the ’70s. Carving a swath through the posh and pompous high society of English fashion, Estella catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), an icon of the fashion world, eventually becoming her understudy and taking on some of her more… cruel characteristics.
Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) directs, with costumes by veteran Jenny Beavan, who worked on Mad Max: Fury Road, The King’s Speech, and other massive, visually-extravagant films. Certainly, Cruella looks like it’ll sear into memory based on its lavish and detailed presentation, so Beavan’s contributions are already prevalent.
With Disney pulling not one but two films out of Sleeping Beauty‘s Maleficent, it makes a degree of sense for Cruella to receive her own origin story feature. Certainly, we had Glenn Close pull off a great Cruella in the live action 101 Dalmations, so a continuation of that version of the character’s screen legacy does feel appropriate. And as a showcase for Emma Stone to take the world by the reins and rise to the top by any means necessary? Why not!
Cruella is set for a May 28, 2021 release to theaters and not Disney+, which the trailer mostly leaves ambiguous. With the pandemic shaping film exhibition for the forseeable future, expect Cruella‘s release to go down a little bumpily, though hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.