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Over the past decade, Disney has been adding some additional backstory to its classic animated characters through large-scale live action movies, such as Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent. But we must not forget that it all really started back in the ‘90s with the remake of 101 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close. As the studio adapts the story again through Cruella, we’re getting a better idea of how it connects to the previous live-action version and the 1961 animated classic.
During Disney’s Cruella virtual press conference with costume designer Jenny Beavan that CinemaBlend attended, the Oscar winner was asked about if and how she was inspired by the Cruella de Vil’s before the Emma Stone version. Here’s what she had to say:
Other than the fact that the Cruella character does seem to be defined by black and white, obviously, there's a bit of red that comes in and the Dalmatians are an important part of it, but no, I didn't really. I did look at Jasper and Horace particularly in the animation and felt that there was something lovely about the way they were drawn and their colors. So, I slightly brought that into Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser's costumes. But they were probably the most influenced in any way by particularly the animation. Otherwise, I just wanted to sort of make sure that you could believe that eventually, she could become Glenn Close. But, that was about as far as my influence went.
Per the costume designer’s words, from a visual standpoint, Emma Stone’s Cruella isn’t necessarily similar to the 1961 version or Glenn Close’s character. The reason for this is the movie is a prequel, and she didn’t want to repeat herself with a Cruella de Vil who had not yet become the version we see in the previous movies. That said, Jenny Beavan did use Glenn Close’s character as a reference to imagine how she might have started before becoming her.
So basically, Cruella sounds like it is more of a prequel to the ‘90s 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians rather than to the animated movie that started it all. That clue is perhaps already apparent in the fact that the movie takes place in the ‘70s to predate Glenn Close’s character in the ‘90s, rather than going back to the ‘40s to match the first iteration.
The movie will track the character’s transformation into the villain as Stone’s Estella tries to make a name for herself in the fashion industry in London, and seems to drum up some sort of rivalry with her boss and prestigious designer, Emma Thompson’s Baroness. Check out the trailer below:
Cruella is coming to theaters and to Disney+ Premier Access later this month, following the format of Raya and the Last Dragon's release. You can sign up for Disney+ using this link.
The Disney origin story is directed by I, Tonya’s Craig Gillespie and also stars Mark Strong, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Cruella hits theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on May 28. Check out what else is coming to the streaming service this month here on CinemaBlend.