In 2010 Disney started conceptualizing some live-action adaptations of its animated canon, but with the twist of retelling them from the viewpoint of the antagonists. The first to get this treatment was “Sleeping Beauty” but with the evil fairy Maleficent as the antiheroic protagonist. The film, starring Angelina Jolie, was released in 2014 and was followed by a sequel in 2019. Another character that Disney wanted to get spotlight was “101 Dalmatians” baddie Cruella De Vil, with planning begun as early as 2011 and actress Emma Stone being cast in 2016. Following principal photography done in 2019 (and after a COVID pandemic delay), the first trailer was released.

CNN tells us that Disney finally started hyping up their live-action film “Cruella,” a prequel of sorts depicting the early days of fur-obsessed fashion magnate Cruella De Vil as portrayed by Emma Stone. The initial trailer, released February 17, shows snippets of Cruella and her twisted evolution from a small-time con artist and aspiring fashion designer, to the cackling villainess of “101 Dalmatians” as she is best remembered. Set in London during the 1970s, the first scenes show a wide-eyed but whip-smart young woman named Estella. She does not stay that way.

Also seen in the trailer is Baroness Von Hellman, played by Emma Thompson, the head of a major fashion house who sees potential in Estella and takes her on. If Hellman reminds you of Cruella herself, then it is a big giveaway just how their relationship will go in the film’s story. Estella’s time under Hellman’s tutelage, and her own friendship started with two brothers who are thieves and criminals will grow to define her future personality. And as Emma Stone’s sinister voiceover goes, she was born brilliant; she is bad, and also a little bid mad. She is Cruella.

Thus far, the “Cruella” trailer has been getting solid likes on social media, although some of the commentators on Twitter cannot help but make comparisons. They see Stone’s half-black half-white hairdo as De Vil and instantly think of popular DC villainess-turned-anti-heroine Harley Quinn as portrayed by Margot Robbie. Interestingly, the film is directed by Craig Gillepsie, who directed the 2017 sports biopic “I, Tonya,” where Robbie starred as the disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding. “Cruella” also stars Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser as Jasper and Horace Badun, Emily Beecham as the future Anita Dearly, and Mark Strong as Boris. The film is expected to release in cinemas May 28.

Image courtesy of CinemaBlend