One of the most iconic characters to ever (dis)grace the screen, Cruella de Vil is getting an origin story in Cruella. That’s right, the animated antagonist of Disney’s classic ’60s ‘toon One Hundred and One Dalmatians, who was previously brought to flesh-and-raging-blood life by Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians, is about to let the fur fly again… and no less an actress than Oscar-winner Emma Stone is poised to show us just how fashionista Cruella got to be bad to the bone.
It is no black-and-white story. Directed by Craig Gillespie, whose Lars and the Real Girl and I, Tonya showcased his fondness of complex characters, Cruella is set in ’70s London and promises to parade a punk aesthetic. We will meet ambitious, smart Cruella as she longs to be like the Baroness (Emma Thompson), the figurehead of clothing label House of Baroness.
Below, you can see four exclusive pictures from the film, courtesy of our sister publication Total Film magazine. As well as Cruella sporting two very different looks – in the first, she’s with accomplices Jasper and Horace (Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser), and in the second, she’s gone full-icon – there’s also an early glimpse of Cruella’s journalist pal Anita (Killing Eve’s Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and the Baroness’ valet, John (Mark Strong), whose agenda is not as plain as his name.
Expect Cruella to show sides to the titular villain that we’ve not seen before. “It’s hard to call someone a bad ’un completely when you see them from the very beginning,” says Stone, who also acts as producer. “You know, once you’ve seen the origin story, things start to piece together and make a bit more sense, even though her behaviour as an adult is not necessarily excusable in any way. I think by the time you get to the end of [this film], you start to understand how this narrative around Cruella developed.”
Gillespie concurs. “Whenever I approach any character, I try to understand where they’re coming from, which I think inherently gives you empathy,” he explains. “It was important to go on this journey with Cruella. And so the audience, while they may not necessarily agree with what she’s doing, they can understand it, and the choices that she’s had to make, given the situation that she’s in.”
Cruella is scheduled to be released in cinemas and on Disney Plus with Premier Access on 28 May. For much more on the film, pick up the new issue of Total Film when it hit shelves (real and digital) on Friday, April 2. Check out the new covers below.
If you're a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so that you never miss an upcoming issue? Sign up via MagazinesDirect and with the latest offer you'll save 60 per cent – that's better than half price! – on a print and digital bundle. You'll also get exclusive subscriber-only covers like the Cruella one above right.