Not every character needs an origin story. But if we are being honest, Cruella Deville does strike us as someone from the Disney repertoire who is deserving of an early story that explains how she became so… well, cruel. When Walt Disney Studios cast Emma Stone in the lead role, we sat up like a trained Dalmatian and started playing extra close attention to Cruella. And after this first trailer, we are even more excited to see what Stone and director Craig Gillespie have in store for Disney audiences.
Like most villains, Estella Deville (Emma Stone) didn’t start off all bad. And like most Disney movies, it’s possible that an evil parent can be blamed. Could this even be a step-parent? In a Disney movie, that’s a clear indicator that you are up to no good.
It appears that in her high-society upbringing, Estella is obsessed with fashion. She appears to have a stiff competitor in the field, and that Baroness (Emma Thompson) takes a chance on Cruella, hoping that they can take over London’s fashion community together. But no one should trust Cruella. As she suggests, point blank in the trailer, she was born brilliant, but born bad. And maybe a little bit mad.
Let’s add Cruella to that growing list of live-action Disney films that helps us to see a classic villainous character in a new light. Maleficent has done that over the course of two films, with Angelina Jolie in the title role. That, of course, has us dreaming of potential franchises structured around other Disney baddies. Ursula Cinematic Universe, anyone?
Part of the reason that we are so excited for Cruella is the team up of Emma Stone with director Craig Gillespie. The director found the perfect tone in his dark comedy Lars and the Real Girl with Ryan Gosling, and then surpassed expectations when he remade Fright Night with Colin Farrell. But it was Gillespie’s outstanding collaboration with Margot Robbie on the Oscar-winning Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya that proved he knows his way around complicated materials. He can probably work wonders with a Cruella script.
What is the release strategy for Cruella? The trailer has a date of May 28, 2021, but is that only on Disney+? Or is the studio holding out hope for a theatrical push for the family movie? And IS this a family movie? I mean, everything about it suggests that it has to be. No way is Disney making a Cruella Deville movie with Emma Stone that you can’t bring the kids to. But at the end of that trailer, it does say, “This film is not yet rated.” Could they possibly get a PG-13 for this 101 Dalmatians live-action spinoff?
We will have more on Cruella as we get closer to the film’s release date. For now, though, hit the comments and let us know what you think of this trailer. I think Emma Stone crushed it. Do you?
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.