‘Cruella’ Trailer: Emma Stone Plays Classic ‘101 Dalmatians’ Villain in Disney’s Live-Action Origin Movie

Walt Disney Pictures

Disney has released the official trailer for Cruella, a live-action feature that finds Oscar winner Emma Stone playing classic antagonist Cruella de Vil.

As with the studio’s Angelina Jolie-starring Maleficent, the House of Mouse endeavours to provide a backstory for another of its classic villains here. This time, it’s the notorious dog-hating fashionista who was introduced in Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, then depicted in Disney’s 1961 animated movie classic, and then, of course, having a screen presence in various animated works and live-action features over the years.

Will audiences be able to side with or even be made to understand a character that’s basically skinned pups to wear their fur? Disney is certainly going to give it a shot – and, depending what unfolds here, that could either be an inspired, gutsy idea or an eye-roll-inducing brand cash-in. With the talent involved, let’s hope for the former.

We head to the ’70s, meeting our titular character before she was Cruella – back when she was Estella, a creative young woman determined to break into the fashion world with her designs. The character’s major turn, as the trailer teases, has to do with the fateful relationship she has with fashion legend Baroness von Hellman, played by Oscar winner Emma Thompson.

The film is directed by Aussie helmer Craig Gillespie, who has delivered some strong work with films such as I, Tonya (with Margot Robbie on fire in another from-her-point-of-view story) and Ryan Gosling-starrer Lars and the Real Girl. The script comes from The Great and The Favourite scribe Tony McNamara and Dana Fox (How to Be Single).

Oh, and Glenn Close, who played Cruella in two live-action Disney movies, is on board as executive producer here. One to throw out as trivia.

Count us intrigued. The trailer shows a visually striking film, particularly with its punk-rock London setting. Plus, the tone put forth is much grittier than at least this writer was expecting from the Disney effort. Strong leads with Stone and Thompson too.

We’ll see what we’re in for when Cruella, also starring  Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, and Mark Strong, hits Australian cinemas on May 27th and US cinemas on May 28th. Was half expecting this one to make it’s way to Disney+ first, so the fact that it’s getting a big-screen release may be promising (?).

 Official synopsis for Cruella:

Academy Award® winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (“Howards End,” “Sense & Sensibility”). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.


Disney’s “Cruella” is directed by Craig Gillespie (“I Tonya”) from a screenplay by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, story by Aline Brosh McKenna and Kelly Marcel & Steve Zissis. It was produced by Andrew Gunn (“Freaky Friday”), Marc Platt (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and Kristin Burr (“Christopher Robin”), with Emma Stone, Michelle Wright, Jared LeBoff and Glenn Close serving as executive producers. Two-time Oscar®- winning costume designer Jenny Beavan (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “A Room with a View”) creates the dazzling and imaginative costumes, which take on a life of their own.

Walt Disney Pictures



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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows. He's also started a video podcast with his wife, Cassandra. Find the LOUD OBSERVERS right HERE.